KPD finds new way to honor fallen officers during period of social distancing

Matthew Lane • May 15, 2020 at 7:30 PM

KINGSPORT — National Police Week pays special recognition to law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year the event runs from May 10 through May 16, and as in years past the local Fraternal Order of Police conducts a memorial service at the Kingsport Justice Center in honor of those officers.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recommended social distancing guidelines, the service has been canceled.

In remembrance of our local fallen officers, a wreath has been placed at the Kingsport Police Department’s Law Enforcement Memorial and Eternal Flame (at the corner of West Market and Clay) and flags have flown at half-staff.

“We take this week to remember and honor those law enforcement officers who came before us, not just here is Kingsport, but throughout the nation, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service and protection of their fellow citizens,” said Kingsport Police Chief David Quillin. “We live and work in a relatively safe and extremely supportive community, but police work is not without risks. It is our ever present hope and prayer that the day never comes that we would have to add another name to this memorial.”


In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15th falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress that year, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

The local FOP Burgess-Mills Lodge #11 is named in honor of two of the KPD’s fallen officers: Patrolman Ira H. Burgess and Patrolman John E. Mills, who were tragically shot and killed in the line of duty in 1950 and 1940 respectively.

This year, the names of 307 officers killed in the line of duty will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. Those names include 135 officers who were killed during 2019, plus 172 officers who died in previous years but whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history until now.

For more information about Kingsport’s fallen officers, visit www.KingsportTN.gov/Police-Department/Our-Fallen-Officers.

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