Police Memorial Day Observed

They have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. By protecting us, police officers put themselves in danger every day. Each year, there's a special ceremony honoring officers who've paid the ultimate price.

Kevin Brown and his son, named for the grandfather he never knew, sat with their family, waiting for Sgt. JJ Brown's name to be called. "It's been a long time, but it still hurts," Brown said.

Savannah police Sgt. Brown was shot and killed on April 14, 1981. He is one of 49 officers killed in Chatham County since 1868 remembered in today's ceremony. "He was a wonderful dad," said Brown. "He did everything in the world for me. He was the biggest, tallest, strongest man in the world to me."

Police Memorial Day is a bittersweet day for officers and families everywhere. Across the country, more than 14,000 law enforcement officers have died. Three hundred sixty-two will have their names added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, this year alone.

"You really think deeply about what it means to be a police officer," Savannah-Chatham police chief Dan Flynn said of today's event.

The monument in front of the police barracks memorializes more than 40 local police officers killed in the line of duty. It is a tribute no officer wants, but one that all men and women who wear the badge face every day.

"We understand, as police men, that the danger factor is there; however, we also understand that when we take the job, the protection of life, liberty and property is not a small thing to do," said Maj. Willie Lovett.

Though it is sometimes paid for with a large price. If you wonder just how dangerous law enforcement can be, on average, two officers are shot in America every day. One is killed on the job every 57 hours.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com