Mary Katherine Moore thinks about her brother every day.
So on the week when police officers killed in the line of duty are honored across the country, Moore, 42, makes sure to attend the local ceremony in Baton Rouge.
Her brother, Baton Rouge police Officer Christopher Metternich, was among the law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty who were honored Friday morning during an annual ceremony held at the Peace Officers Memorial Plaza outside City Hall. National Police Week falls every year on the week of May 15, which since 1962 has been officially recognized as National Peace Officers Memorial Day.
“It’s everything to have the public remember the sacrifice my niece and sister-in-law have made,” Moore said, referring to Metternich’s young daughter and widow. “And to remember our loved ones.”
Metternich, a 31-year-old motorcycle officer, died in 2006 when his motorcycle collided with a car that illegally turned left in front of him. The car’s driver, Betty L. Morse, pleaded guilty in 2007 to negligent homicide and first-offense driving while intoxicated. A judge sentenced her to five years’ probation.
In addition to Metternich, more than two dozen other police officers and sheriff’s deputies were remembered during the memorial, which featured a three-volley salute, bagpipes, prayers and speeches by local law enforcement leaders.
With his father’s name etched in a nearby stone, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. read aloud the names of the 19 city police officers killed in the line of duty since 1911. His father, Lt. Carl Dabadie, died in 1984 in a motorcycle crash while on duty.
“As the son of a fallen officer,” the chief said Friday, “ ... I have always been proud to support these tremendous heroes and public servants.”
Dabadie also remembered deputy U.S. Marshal Josie Wells, the 27-year-old Mississippi native who was fatally shot in Baton Rouge in March while trying to arrest suspected killer Jamie D. Croom, a 31-year-old New Roads man who also was fatally injured during the shootout.
More than 120 officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2014, said Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., a police spokesman who emceed the memorial.
“All the good that these individuals brought has to be remembered,” said State Police Col. Mike Edmonson. “And it can never be forgotten.”
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux also read the names of nearly a dozen deputies killed in the line of duty since 1924.
“Those who have given the ultimate sacrifice have not done so in vain,” Gautreaux said.
Becky Wilson, 60, and her sister, Linda Woods, 58, were among the family members of slain law enforcement officers who attended Friday’s ceremony. Their father, sheriff’s Deputy Charles H. Hurt, was fatally shot while looking for truant children in the Scotlandville neighborhood in 1963.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Woods, who was 6 years old at the time.
Wilson, who was 9 when her dad was killed, said she hopes memorials like the one in Baton Rouge instill confidence in law enforcement officers.
“We trust them and we support them,” Wilson said.
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