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Ceremony honors fallen officers

Wednesday, a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of fallen law enforcement officers was held at the statue in front of Morgantown’s public safety building.

At 1 p.m., two members of the Morgantown Police Department honor guard exited the building and placed the wreath of branches, flowers, and a red, white and blue ribbon.

“This is a special week for all law enforcement,” Morgantown Police Chief Eric Powell said. “It honors all those that have gone before us and sacrificed their lives in performing their job.”

President John F. Kennedy declared May 15 National Peace Officers Memorial Day in 1962. The week in which May 15 falls is known as National Police Week.

And in Morgantown, May 15 is Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day in Morgantown. Mayor Ron Dulaney Jr. issued a proclamation on behalf of city council declaring it so.

The proclamation acknowledged the “unceasingly vital service” provided by the MPD and the range of incidents its officers are asked to deal with such as domestic violence, substance-use disorders, mental-health challenges, and homelessness — often with limited resources.

It also recognized the 218 officers killed in the line of duty in West Virginia.

Sgt. Michael Todd May of the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department was the last officer to die in the line of duty in the county.

“It hits home for us and our department,” Sheriff Perry Palmer said. “The fact that we still have his mailbox, his timecard slot, everything is still intact. He gave his life for the community.”

May was killed by a drunk driver on Feb. 18, 2012. A scholarship was founded in his name in 2012 and helps those earning criminal justice degrees from Fairmont State University, May’s alma mater.

Palmer said during police week he thinks about the fallen officers that have gone before him and everyone else who puts their lives on the line every day.

“It’s a very awakening week for all of us to make sure that our men and women who continue to patrol the streets and do their utmost to protect the county and the community, their community is taken into consideration.”

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