Police Memorial Week Ceremonies Touch On Pandemic, Civil Unrest

May 10, 2021

Law enforcement officers are observing Police Memorial Week, and remembering their comrades who lost their lives in the line of duty. Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac says the country averages about 150 police line of duty deaths a year, and faced a new threat in the last year.


"This past year and a half, we've seen well over a hundred officers lose their lives in this horrific pandemic this country and world is also facing," he says.

At least one local deputy died from COVID: Donald Gilreath III of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office died February 12.

Mayor John Cranley says police are a big reason Cincinnati is growing. "The Cincinnati Police Department is literally considered the national role model for policing. There's been so much talk about policing over the last year, but Cincinnati has been doing the work of improving police-community relations for 20 years."

Last year, the deaths of Black people, including Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, sparked civil unrest across the country and inspired many to demand police reforms or the defunding of law enforcement agencies.

A child and officer watch ceremonies at Fountain Square.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

After ceremonies at Fountain Square, officers led a procession to the Police Memorial on Ezzard Charles for wreath-laying, and a 21-gun salute. One local officer died while on duty in the past year: Deputy Adam McMillan was killed in a collision with a bus, last October.

Wednesday, the city is participating in Light Up Blue, where local buildings will be turning outside decorative lighting to blue to show appreciation and support for police.