SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - For the first time in more than a decade, new names grace Chatham County's police memorial.
Two officers died in car wreck in 1980 on their way to training. Back then it wasn't considered "in the line of duty."
But Savannah-Chatham police chief Willie Lovett sees things differently. On Wednesday, the chief honored those two officers and many others who paid the ultimate price.
Every year, familiar faces gather around the police memorial. The names go back 200 years. Every name represents a police officer from Chatham County killed in the line of duty.
Many families attend this solemn ceremony year after year. But this year there were some new faces, finally getting to see their loved ones honored. The family of Officer William Howard.
Officer Howard and Officer Leonard Adelman were the very first K-9 officers on the force. On February 24, 1980, they where on their way to training at Fort Stewart when they were hit by a car and killed.
"For 30 years it has been unnoticed," Chief Lovett said.
Not any more. Now Howard and Adelman's names are etched on the memorial.
"It meant the world," said Howard's son Scot. "My father died in 1980 doing what he loved."
Scot Howard was 3-years-old. His brother Stephen Williams was born the week after their father died.
"We've been waiting for this for a long time now," Stephen said.
Scot and Stephen joined many other families in placing a rose at the base of the memorial. After the ceremony, the family of police officers and their families, embraced them.
"It's the family of the blue," said Mark MacPhail Jr.
MacPhail's father was murdered in 1989. He said it's important to return to this memorial each year. He says it gives him strength.
"It means a lot," he said. "Lest we forget about the fallen officers.
Now he hopes Scot and Stephen feel that bond.
Scot said, "It nice to know everyone feels our pain, because they know what he went through, what he lived for, what he died for."
Adelman's family was notified about the police memorial. They now live in Massachusetts and could not attend the ceremony.