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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Ceremony gathers people to remember deceased officers

Fort Wayne Police officers Jon Bonar, left, and Lt. Matt Enyeart, right, kneel as they present the wreath during the Police Officers Memorial ceremony Friday morning at the Law Enforcement/Firefighters Memorial of Allen County. (Photo by Sheryl Krieg of The News-Sentinel)
Fort Wayne Police officers Jon Bonar, left, and Lt. Matt Enyeart, right, kneel as they present the wreath during the Police Officers Memorial ceremony Friday morning at the Law Enforcement/Firefighters Memorial of Allen County. (Photo by Sheryl Krieg of The News-Sentinel)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Friday, May 12, 2017 01:51 pm

The crowd was thick with dignitaries, families and all branches of law enforcement to honor police officers who gave their lives while serving their communities.

The Police Officers Memorial ceremony took place Friday morning at the Law Enforcement/Firefighters Memorial of Allen County to honor those officers who sacrificed all while celebrating and thanking police officers who protect our community.

Allen County Commissioner Therese Brown proclaimed Friday Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor officers who perform "inherently dangerous" work when they put on their uniforms.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry celebrated the men and women who gave their lives. "What more powerful thing to do than to give up their life for a friend... for someone they don't know."

Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux thanked people for taking time to attend the ceremony. "Law enforcement changes every single day," he said. "If you had told me 15 years ago we'd be carrying AR-15s, I'd say you were crazy. Things are a whole lot different."

Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed said support for officers in Allen County is "unparalleled... They serve our community with honor and bravery."

Afterward, Reed said he is encouraged by residents who come forward with information so his officers know who they are dealing with. "We have seen overwhelming support," he said.

The memorial, which adorns Wells Street near the historic bridge of the same name, was established by Jerry and Linda Vandeveer for the community to remember and honor first responders. Linda Vandeveer, who died last September, was mentioned in a few of Friday's speeches as was Allen County Sheriff's Department's Sgt. Joe Cox who suffered a medical emergency while on duty and died in February.

Afterward, Jerry Vandeveer, who was in good spirits, said his wife's presence was felt, although he knew she was celebrating with officers in heaven.

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