Cincinnati Police officers and others from surrounding communities came together Friday to honor and remember fallen officers on Police Memorial Day.
This year's event began at the Cincinnati Firefighters Memorial Park on Central Avenue. The service traditionally starts on Fountain Square, but it was not available because of a scheduling conflict.
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said there are more than 900,000 police officers in the country. But he added that protecting others comes at a price.
"Each year there are approximately 60,000 assaults on law enforcement officers," Isaac said. "Resulting in nearly 16,000 injuries every year. And over the past decade, there's been an average of about 150 officers a year that have been killed in the line of duty."
Isaac said the service is about honoring the memory, dedication and commitment to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
"We recognize and pay homage to those true American heroes," Isaac said. "We honor their dedication to duty and for making that sacrifice for protection of others without regard to their own personal safety."
Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco delivered the keynote address at the ceremony.
"This ceremony reminds us that there are those who take on the responsibility of the safety of society with courage and diligence," Sammarco said. "Quietly, and often without recognition, they face danger to protect us every single day."
Mayor John Cranley spoke and praised the police department for its work in reducing the number of shootings in the city.
"Your work is working," Cranley said. "Your efforts are making a difference, and this community is safer because of your hard work."
Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney offered his sincere gratitude to all members of the city police department past and present.
"Your steadfast dedication and service to the residents of our great community is a huge part of what makes Cincinnati such an exceptional place to live and to grow," Duhaney said. "My appreciation extends to your families who bear so much burden, often wondering and waiting, and in some cases grieving. We thank you for your sacrifice."
After the service at the fire memorial, there was a short parade to the police memorial on Ezzard Charles Drive, across from District One headquarters.
That service included placing flowers at the memorial; a bugler sounding Taps; a flyover in the “missing man” formation; and a 21-gun salute.
There also will be open houses at the city's police district beginning today. That schedule is as follows:
- Friday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. District 1 and CBS
- Monday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. District 5
- Tuesday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. District 2
- Wednesday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. District 3
- Thursday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. District 4
The open houses allow the public to meet the officers who work in their neighborhoods and to learn more about some of the specialized units in the department.