35 late Pa. police officers honored at memorial service

State officials look on as an honor guard presents the colors during the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police’s 27th annual Memorial Service at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.

HARRISBURG — The lives and loss of 35 Pennsylvania law enforcement officers were remembered Monday during the state Fraternal Order of Police’s 27th Annual Memorial Service.

Held in the auditorium of the State Museum of Pennsylvania, it was the first service for officers who died in the line of duty since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families and loved ones of the late officers attended along with state and local elected officials and members of law enforcement.

The service included an honor guard, rifle salute and pipe band performance of “Amazing Grace.”

The officers honored during the service died in 2014, 2019, 2020 and 2021. They worked in municipal police departments, county sheriff’s offices and park police, transit and university departments and the Pennsylvania State Police.

Les Neri, president, Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police, emphasized that the fallen officers did much more than simply work a job.

“Within our communities, they are highly respected individuals who did all they could to ensure the safety of all those around them. To some, they were neighbors. To others, they were husbands, fathers, neighbors, brothers, sons and cousins. What I’m trying to say is they were more than just a uniform,” Neri said.

No grief is greater than when “one of these heroes” fall in the line of duty, said Gov. Tom Wolf. Those in attendance at the memorial service were there to grieve and pay respects to the officers and their families, he said.

“Pennsylvania’s law enforcement officers are steadfast public servants who put their lives on the line day after day to protect their neighbors, community members, and fellow Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said. “Today, we stand in memorial for our fallen officers. We recognize their heroism, bravery, and selflessness that we all rely on.”

Attorney General Josh Shapiro called law enforcement a “noble profession.” Those who work with a badge keep communities safe and make personal sacrifices to do so, he said.

There are times many in law enforcement feel support for their profession is waning, Shapiro said, adding that he’s “committed to turning this tide” and that the state and Office of Attorney General “have your back.”

“I am here to thank the women and men of law enforcement who lay themselves on the line day in and day out for all of us. We appreciate you,” Shapiro said.

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CNHI Harrisburg Bureau

Eric Scicchitano is the CNHI Pennsylvania state reporter. He is a former CNHI Reporter of the Year and previously worked at The (Sunbury) Daily Item before until he took over the Harrisburg beat in January 2022. Email him at erics@cnhinews.com.

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