Sacrifice of officers always remembered

Fighting crime can be dangerous work for the more than 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States.

On average, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, one officer is killed somewhere in the United States every 54 hours. And, in 2018, 58,866 officers were victims of assault, resulting in more than 18,005 injuries. There were 135 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2019, and, through Sunday, 43 officers have lost their lives.

The sacrifices of the men and women who work around the clock to protect have been recognized this week, as members of area law enforcement agencies and people held small remembrances.

Steubenville’s annual Peace Officers Memorial Service was held Tuesday on the steps of the City Building. The event offered an opportunity to remember the area police officers who have lost their lives while protecting others.

It’s a list that includes Leslie J. McDonald, Lafayette Mercer, Owen Burns, Scott Roe, Leonard Lamatrice and Thomas McGough of the Steubenville Police Department; William J. Snider and Michael Maguschak Sr. of the Mingo Junction Police Department; Benton Miller Sr. of the Toronto Police Department; and Michael Brandle of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Again helping to organize the event were city Patrolmen Jim Marquis, who’s also president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1; Patrolman Brian Lula, FOP secretary; and 6th Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna, a former member of the city police department.

A similar ceremony was held Wednesday in Weirton. That city has never lost an officer in the line of duty.

The events offered a sobering reminder that more than 24,000 officers have been killed in the line of duty since the first recorded death in 1786.

During that time, Texas has lost 1,772 officers in the line of duty, the most of any state. In our region, Pennsylvania has lost 950 officers, Ohio has lost 814 officers and West Virginia has lost 182 officers.

Of the 158 officers who lost their lives in 2018, 53 were shot to death, 48 died of a job-related illness, 31 died in an auto accident, 14 died after being struck by a vehicle, four drowned, four died in a motorcycle crash, two were beaten to death and two died after being struck by a train. Eleven female officers lost their lives.

And, 50 percent of those who were killed were wearing body armor.

In-person activities associated with National Police Week in Washington, D.C., which runs through Saturday, have been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual candlelight vigil was held Wednesday evening.

We ask everyone to take a moment to remember the dedication and sacrifice of the men and women who work day and night, 365 days a year, to enforce our laws and keep our communities safe.


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