ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WSFA) - The Alex City Police Department held its 22nd annual Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial service Wednesday.
The program began at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. Alex City has lost two of its finest in the line of duty; Officer Clarence Martin was shot to death in January 1976. Several months later, Officer Reuben Milam died of a heart attack while on duty in July 1976.
"The biggest thing with law enforcement officers is the high suicide rate after retirement because of depression of things they've seen over the course of their career and several officers killed wrongfully in the line of duty and we gather to support to show support to all their families," said Alex City police investigator Drew Machen.
The memorial featured patriotic songs, prayers, Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, a 21-gun salute and TAPS.
"These officers who have already passed on and him talking about the two that recently died, it touches your heart," said Emma Jean Thweatt who is related to Officer Milam.
The guest speaker for the event was Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
"Here in Alabama, our officer loss of life numbers have doubled since last year," said guest speaker Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
Lt. Thomas Tuck tries not to think about dying in the line of duty every time he hits the road for the Alex City police department, but it does cross his mind from time to time.
"You know the dangers, you know what you're going to face everyday. You do your best to train," said Lt. Tuck.
Still, Tuck wouldn't change a thing, saying he'd choose the same career knowing tomorrow is all but uncertain.
The department will also hold a ceremony Wednesday at 6 p.m. to recognize those who are still serving.
Since record keeping, more than 500 police officers and deputies have died in the line of duty in Alabama. Here are the remaining officers and deputies who died in the line of duty remembered Wednesday:
- Deputy J. Kyle Young/Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Department-April 13, 1952
- Officer Larry Neal Stone/Camp Hill Police Department-December 20, 1968
- Officer Roland Hicks, Jr.,/Camp Hill Police Department-August 10, 1969
- Deputy Leonard W. Brand/Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Department-May 25, 1986
- Officer Angeline Scruggs/Tallassee Police Department-November 11, 1992