Local authorities gather for police memorial service

Published 1:18 pm Thursday, May 16, 2024

By Ian Sparks
Eagle Intern


Representatives from Lafayette-Oxford-University law enforcement announced that no local officers were wounded or seriously injured within the past year.

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This announcement comes during Police Week and a day after National Peace Officers Memorial Day. The annual memorial service was held by the Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officers Association on Thursday, May 16 on the Lafayette County Courthouse lawn.

Guest speaker Circuit Court Judge Gray Tollison opened up his speech by noting the origins of the holiday dating back to President John F. Kennedy’s tenure as president.

“Over 60 years ago, the United States Congress authorized President John Kennedy to issue a proclamation dated May 15th each year as Peace Officer Memorial Day,” Tollison said, “In honor of law enforcement officers who courageously lost their lives in the performance of their duty to protect and safeguard citizens and communities.”

Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, Oxford Police Department, University Police Department, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics all reported no deaths or serious injuries.

The U.S. Marshals Service did report four deaths this year, all coming at the end of April. Officers Joshua Eyer, Sam Poloche, Alden Elliot and Thomas Weeks were killed in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 29, 2024.

Lafayette County Sheriff Joey East attended the ceremony. East, in his fourth year as sheriff, noted that this service gives law enforcement officers a chance to see how they are appreciated.

“It does a lot for law enforcement to know we are cared about, we are loved and what they do matters,” East said.

East also stated that an event like this shows that officers who have fallen are not forgotten.

“This lets them know that they’ll always be remembered and loved by the community,” he said.

The procession ended with the Oxford Honor Guard’s 21-gun salute followed by the playing of taps.