Wed, 05/24/2023 - 10:02am caleb
Crawford County Sheriff’s Office hosts National Police Week Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on Monday, May 15
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office – joined by personnel from other area law enforcement departments – honored the sacrifices of officers during its annual National Police Week Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on Monday, May 15.
The department conducted the ceremony at the Sheriff’s Office – despite a parking lot resurfacing project that was in progress – in order to allow attendees to see the new flag, flag pole, and memorial plaque at the site.
Crawford County Sheriff Ryan Swope said Gerald and Marlynne Crawford of Luzerne donated the flag, the flag pole, and the plaque as a way to honor former sheriff Kirk Wakefield.
“We have a new addition to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. We have a new flag pole, a new flag, and a plaque monument in honor of several people,” Sheriff Swope said during Monday’s ceremony.
The plaque says: “In honor of Ret. Sheriff Kirk A. Wakefield, Crawford County’s longest elected Sheriff (2002-2018) and all the employees who have dedicated their lives to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Crawford County.”
The bottom of the plaque contains a message that Wakefield offered to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office when he retired: “Live free! Stay strong! I will always be with you!”
Sheriff Swope said the department was “very grateful” for the donations.
During the ceremony, Sheriff Swope said 42 law enforcement officers had been killed in the line duty in the US in 2023 as of Monday, May 15. Swope said 246 were killed in the line of duty in 2022 – 82 from COVID-19 and 164 “while attempting to protect and serve.”
“This year has created some bumps in the road – literally – but I appreciate your support,” Sheriff Swope said during Monday’s ceremony. “As we stand here today in honor of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice these men and women continue to do that, and this job takes a lot from us, not only individually but also our families and our coworkers.”
“I challenge you that today and in the near future when you see an officer, thank them. I hear quite often that you guys are having these issues, what can we help with, how can we help you. There’s no real good answer. There’s a lot of things battling us that we can not fix ourselves, but a simple thank you goes a very, very long way, and I would challenge you to do that,” Sheriff Swope said.
After the ceremony, Sheriff Swope said the event went well overall. Swope said the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office had “strong support from our neighbors” in law enforcement and public safety, including participation from the Grayling Police Department, the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Grayling Fire Department, and Camp Grayling (which provided the honor guard and firing squad for the ceremony). The event included bagpipe music from Louie Arreola and an invocation and a benediction from Chaplain Wade Davis.
Sheriff Swope said the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office was grateful for the community support at the ceremony.
“I know our officers are very appreciative,” Sheriff Swope said.