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North Pole hosts memorial service for fallen peace officers in Alaska’s history

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:04 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Community members gathered in North Pole on Friday, May 13, to mourn the loss of 68 peace officers over the course of Alaska’s history, and to honor their sacrifice.

The ceremony came as a commemoration of Peace Officers Memorial Day, which is officially celebrated on Sunday, May 15.

Speaking at the event, Chief Steve Dutra of the North Pole Police Department said, “They died doing their part to stop crime, to prevent the victimization of the public, to hold criminal offenders accountable, and to keep our Alaskan communities safe.”

The event took place at Trooper Gabriel Rich and Trooper Scott Johnson Memorial Park, which is named after two officers killed in the line of duty in 2014.

The mayors of Fairbanks and North Pole made remarks commemorating the occasion.

Jim Matherly, Mayor of the City of Fairbanks, explained, “Many of us who are here today have faced the sad reality of losing someone close to them who was working in the line of duty. That effect, of losing one of our officers, is truly overwhelming. It affects the entire community.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Mike Welch of North Pole encouraged people in the community to get to know their local police officers, saying, “Let them know that you support them and learn as much as you can about why they decided that they wanted service. That is the ultimate thing that we can do to recognize that we are part of this destiny together.”

A memorial wreath was laid. Then, the names of every law enforcement officer lost were read out, that they may never be forgotten.

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