DURANT, OK-The city of Durant fell silent Thursday night as nearly a dozen law enforcement agents were honored for their ultimate sacrifice.
Over 400 Oklahoma police officers have been killed in the line of duty since the 1800s. Eleven of those men were from Bryan County and they were remembered Thursday by friends and brothers and sisters in law enforcement.
Durant deputy chief of police, David Houser, called out the names of eleven fallen Bryan county officers Thursday at the law enforcement memorial held in Durant. One of them is his friend, Sgt. Michael Pace of the Bryan County Sheriff's Office, who was killed when his patrol car crashed in 1998.
"It's a tragic event when you lose a friend, a law enforcement friend because law enforcement is not just a profession, we're family. It doesn't matter if you're wearing a brown shirt, a blue shirt or a gray shirt. If you're a law enforcement officer, you're a brother and a sister," he said.
Officers from Durant, Bokchito, OHP and Bryan County Sheriff's Office placed roses on the memorial wreath as every name was called. Houser said a police officer's life is always on the line every time they go to work.
"What separates a law enforcement officer from maybe a normal citizen is that fear causes them to act, not retreat," he said.
Duty affects their family and Durant police chaplain LaWanda Mabery knows what it's like.
"Everytime they went to work you never knew if they'd come home that night, if they'll ever come home again," she said.
Mabery was married to a police officer for many years and said sometimes it was nerve-wracking. But she understood -- their duty comes first.
"Try to understand that they're trying to do their job for the people and just because they're not there, they still love you," she said.
Houser hopes the memorial will remind the community of the service made by officers.
"I would like them to walk away with the full recognition that law enforcement throughout the nation, not just Bryan county will sacrifice everything they have, including their lives to make them safe," he said.
Thursday's ceremony was part of "National Police Week".
In memory of:
Bennington City Marshal James Eli Parish 7-13-1912
Bokchito City Marshal Car Lee "Don" Hart 5-21-1972
Bokchito City Marshal Warren N. Smith 11-18-1951
Bryan County Sheriff's Deputy Michael D. Pace 12-29-1998
Bryan County Sheriff John Ellis Williams 11-4-1938
Caddo City Marshal Morgan Haddock 12-13-1951
OK ABLE Commission Agent Lori Dean Thomas 10-23-1994
OHP Trooper Houston F. "Pappy" Summers 5-26-1978
OHP Trooper Billy Gene Young 5-26-1978
OHP Lt. Pat Grimes 5-26-1978
Deputy U.S. Marshal Abner David McLellan 7-20-1894