Bryan County law enforcement officers pay tribute to the fallen

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DURANT, OK -- They risk their lives every day to protect us, so this week Americans pause to recognize the efforts and sacrifice of law enforcement officers. Thursday, one Texoma community honored those who have lost their lives in the line of duty, as part of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Law enforcement officers representing 15 branches across Bryan County came together in Durant to remember eleven fallen officers -- all of whom lost their lives while serviing their community.

One by one, the names of Bryan County's fallen officers were read. Roses representing each of the fallen were placed onto this wreath.

One of those roses represents Bryan County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Pace. Pace was heading home in his patrol car in December 1998, when a semi pulled out in front of him, causing a collision. He died six days later. His sister, Debra Shires, placed a rose in his honor.

"It's great that after all these, it's been what, 14 years, and it's great to know that people around still remember him," Shires said.

"I want those family members like them to know that not just myself, but the whole city won't forget the sacrifice their family member made and that they made by losing those officers," Duran Police Chief Durward Cook said.

Thursday's annual ceremony is held in honor of National Peace Officers Memorial Day. Chief Cook says when a fellow officer dies, it not only devastates immediate family, but the law enforcement family as well.

"We get to know each other very well. We know each other's families. We're just very close to one another because of the type of job that we do, and when one falls or gets injured or hurt, we all feel it very strongly," Chief Cook said.

Shires says the loss of her brother is always heavy on her heart.

"There are still little things that happen. Just like today. Or there may be a song on the radio that reminds you of things that he did or said," she said.

But with a ceremony like this one, it helps ease the pain.

"It's great that the police officers do things like this for each other," Shires said.

The careers of the officers honored tonight spanned over a century -- from the late 1800's through the 1990's.

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