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Athens County Sherriff Pat Kelly, left, and Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle carry a wreath to the memorial site Wednesday, May 11, 2011, at the memorial service honoring fallen officers in Athens County. The memorial precedes National Police Week, which begins Sunday. (Alex Stein | Multimedia Editor).

Police venerate fallen officers

Police officers and spectators gathered for a memorial service honoring Athens County fallen law enforcement officers on College Street in Athens. They saluted in silence as the flag was raised, the national anthem was sung, and a prayer was said for the local officers who have lost their lives.

In 1962 President John F. Kennedy declared the week of May 11 National Police

Week and May 15 National Police Officers Memorial Day. The Memorial Service was hosted outside of the Athens Police Department, 11 N. College St.  

Seven Athens County officers have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1888.

Mayor Paul Wiehl was in attendance at the memorial service and read the first of the two proclamations.

“We ask them to protect us and keep us safe day and night,” Wiehl said, “We almost take everything they do for granted at times.”

County Commissioners Lenny Eliason, Mark Sullivan and Larry Payne were in attendance as well. Eliason read the other proclamation in honor of the men and women who have lost their lives.

“We thank them for their efforts to keep our community safe on a daily basis,”

Eliason said.

Dave Cogar, a retired Athens County police officer who served a total of 33 years in law enforcement and 25 of those years in Athens, also spoke in honor of his former fellow officers present.

“I never accomplished much, but I left a lot of stories,” Cogar said, “The men and women I worked with knew a great bit about a lot of things and I figured if I could learn just a little bit, I would be OK.”

Cogar’s speech continued with personal memories and immense respect for his fellow law enforcement officers who have fallen and the current ones who are protecting us.

“I am honored to have walked among you,” Cogar said, “These people have made our society so much better and safer.”

Members of the APD planned the memorial service.

“This memorial service is a wonderful thing that has been done in their honor,” Wiehl said, “I hope the tradition continues.”

Chief Tom Pyle and Sheriff Pat Kelly carried a ceremonial wreath in honor of the men and women who have lost their lives, three gunshots were fired and a prayer was said in conclusion of the memorial service.

“We ask a lot of these men and women and they do a lot for us as a community,” Eliason said, “I am grateful.”


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