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By Erin Smith

Bladen County conducted the first annual Peace Officers Memorial Service to honor those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. It was a somber mood during the well attended event on Wednesday morning at the Elizabethtown Baptist Church Christian Activities Center. 

While rain fell intermittently outside, inside the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy Cadets presented the colors, and assisted with recognizing Bladen County’s fallen officers and placed a memorial wreath in their honor.  Bladen County has had five law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. They are Chief Roy Franklin Fores with the Bladenboro Police Department, Chief Marvin James Bell with the Elizabethtown Police Department, Police Officer Brian Joe Ramey with the Bladenboro Police Department, Deputy James Brian Collins of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Dwayne Charles Hester of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Department. 

Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker introduced keynote speaker Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons. 

“Our purpose here to day is to recognize and remember the sacrifices of those officers in various law enforcement agencies who have given their lives in the line of duty. We should also reflect on the courage and devotion to duty these officers display,” said Ammons. 

He noted that law enforcement officers are well trained and are fully committed to laying down their lives if the need should arise. Judge Ammons encouraged everyone to support and care for their law enforcement officers so that the officers may in turn protect the citizens and enforce the law. 

He noted that when things go wrong, the citizens immediately call a police officer. Judge Ammons also stated when a police officer makes a mistake, the citizens will also be critical of them. He also noted that without law enforcement officers, our society as we know it, could not exist.

“Thank you for your service,” said Judge Ammons. 

Col. Lloyd with the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy read the names of the fallen and a bell was rung after each name was called. Following the reading of the names, a gun volley sounded three times and taps was played.  A wreath was placed in front of a table displaying five law enforcement hats to commemorate the fallen officers in Bladen County. 

The Paul R. Brown Cadets paraded past all of the officers gathered for a Passing in Review to complete the ceremony.