LIMA — Law enforcement who put their lives on the lines everyday participated in a ceremony Thursday to commemorate those in uniform who served before them and lost their lives by selflessly confronting danger to protect and defend their community.
Nearly 200 people attended a ceremony at the Fraternal Order of Police Post 21 in Lima, including law enforcement agencies, to honor those who have died in the line of service.
Wreaths with yellow and blue flowers that read “FOP” and “FOPA” were placed by a memorial that had the names of 10 local members of law enforcement who died while serving in the line of duty. Ron Rinto, Allen County Sheriff’s Office deputy, read the 10 names of the law enforcement members whose lives were lost.
Lima Police Department Officer Eric Mericle, Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Terry Kohlrieser and Lara Ball, FOPA #8 president, laid the wreaths near a memorial placed to honor 10 local members of law enforcement who have died while serving in the line of duty.
Mericle, who served with the Lima Police Department since September 2000, received the 2018 Lima Exchange Club’s Jack Somerville “Law Officer of the Year Award.” The club has given out the award for more than 50 years, and last year named it in honor of the charter’s president, Jack Somerville. Somerville is still an active club member and Fraternal Order of Police Association Lodge 8 member.
Kohlrieser provided remarks about the nobility of the law enforcement profession and the importance of the sacrifices they make to protect people every day.
“In today’s society these are people who leave their families everyday, and when the rest of us are running from gunfire, they are running towards gun fire,” Kohlrieser said. She said law enforcement assists her in her job as a judge and they should be recognized for the service and protection they provide.
Area law enforcement saluted as the Honor Guard marched in a ceremony carrying rifles to honor their fallen comrades.
This week is National Police Week, honoring the men and women who put their lives on the line. Wednesday was Peace Officers Memorial Day, proclaimed by the United States president.
Darrell Ball, Fraternal Order of Police Post 21 president, told those who attended there are 150 to 175 members of law enforcement throughout the nation who die in the line of duty every year.
“Those men and women selflessly confront danger to protect our families and defend our communities, and we honor those in blue who have been killed while serving in the line of duty,” Ball said.
He said it is good to remind the community that law enforcement make sacrifices and take precautions, such as wearing bulletproof vests and train to help make themselves aware of the dangers law enforcement officers face.
Lima Mayor David Berger and Allen County Commissioner Jay Begg read proclamations declaring this week as Police Week in Allen County and encouraging the community to honor those who sere in law enforcement. FOP honor guard members presented the colors, and TAPS was played.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.