- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Four regional police officers, who gave their lives in the line of duty last year, were honored yesterday morning at the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial outside Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in Northwest.
The 23rd annual memorial service took place in front of the Henry J. Daly Building named for a D.C. police officer killed in 1994. About 100 family members and officers in colorful dress uniforms and badges covered with black tape crowded into and around a small tent in front of the memorial to remember the fallen in speech and in song.
The service paid tribute to the four officers lost last year and 72 others from 24 local police jurisdictions who have died on the job since 1980. It culminated in a 30-minute "Roll Call of Heroes," during which the names of the 76 officers were read aloud.
A family member or representative from each officer's department approached the memorial, laid a carnation on the edge of the 10-foot-wide octagonal fountain, and saluted.
Newly enshrined officers were represented by a red carnation for love; officers lost in prior years were represented by a white carnation for remembrance.
"These officers weren't thinking about going to their deaths, they were just thinking about doing their jobs," said Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1 President Lou Cannon, an inspector with the U.S. Mint Police. "I think it reminds us there are no safe jobs in law enforcement."
Acting Police Chief Gerald M. Wilson headed the Prince George County delegation.
"We can derive a great deal of strength from the sacrifices of those who've gone before us," he said. Prince George's County with 12 has had the second-most line-of-duty deaths since the memorial was dedicated in 1980. The District has lost 17 police officers.
D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said the event was not just to remember officers, but their families, who suddenly have to cope with the loss of a husband, a father or a son.
"It does kind of bring you back to the reality of the job, but it's more for the families," he said. They have to live with it every day."
Sgt. Mark F. Parry, 42, of the Baltimore County Police Department, died Jan. 21 after a sport utility vehicle operated by a man accused of drunken driving turned in front of his unmarked car on Dec. 27.
Capt. Tommy F. Bernal, 51, head of the Fairfax County Police Department traffic division, was killed June 28 while on a training run with motorcycle officers south of Front Royal, Va. When another officer skidded into oncoming traffic, a Ford Explorer swerved to avoid the rider and hit Capt. Bernal.
Agent Michael J. Cowdery Jr., 31, of the Baltimore Police Department was shot in the head and killed March 12, 2001. Officer Cowdery and two other agents were conducting field interviews.
Officer Marlon F. Morales, 32, of the Metro Transit Police Department died on June 13, three days after a fare evader shot him in the head at the Green Line U Street/African-American Civil War Museum/Cardozo station.
Officer Morales' wife, Jennifer, said she took comfort in the ceremony. "You just kind of see who else has gone through it and hope no one else is added," she said.
But already the event's planners have been forced to look ahead to next year.
Not included was Maryland-National Capital Park Police Officer Kristin M. Pataki, 24, who died in a car crash Saturday.
Officer Pataki was driving a patrol car that hit a tree in Montgomery County. She was responding to assist another officer who was checking a suspicious vehicle.
Officer Pataki is the first member of that force killed in the line of duty.


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