Honoring those who serve

by TONIA BROOKS
Staff Writer | June 11, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — During the early evening hours of June 5, in a light, steady rain, varied law enforcement and fire protection agencies, along with a number of community members, met on the lawn of the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office to pay tribute and honor those fallen in the line of duty.

The annual Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony was held in recognition of National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and was hosted by the Boundary Chaplain Corps.

Normally held in May, the ceremony had to be postponed until last Friday.

“In light of what we are seeing happening around several parts of our country, we are extremely grateful for the support that is shown on a local level to all those that serve in law enforcement,” said Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer.

The ceremony, rich with tradition, included a “missing officer table” — a table fitted with a tablecloth, one chair, and some symbolic items placed on top — set in honor of the fallen officers.

Beginning with the singing of the National Anthem by Sheriff’s Chaplain Len Pine, and followed by addresses from Sheriff Kramer, Mayor Dick Staples and others, the ceremony continued on as attendees stood in the rain.

“It is important that we remember those Peace Officers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice serving their communities, they are more than just a name, they leave behind family, co-workers and friends,” said Kramer.

Names were read of 147 fallen law enforcement officers throughout the United States, state by state. Twenty-eight K9s lost their lives in the line of duty and were honorably mentioned as well. All of the 147 officers and their K9 partners were killed during 2019.

A special tribute happened when Idaho, Bonneville County Deputy Sheriff Wyatt Maser’s name was called.

On May 18, 2020, during his response to a single-vehicle rollover crash, and while he was engaged with attempting to help a woman in a mental crisis, Deputy Sheriff Maser was struck and killed by a patrol car responding to the scene. Deputy Maser was 23 years old, an Air Force Veteran, father and husband.

The ceremony included an “end of watch” tradition to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty. A Boundary County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher relayed the following end of watch information over the radio.

“All units stand by for memorial last call. This last call is in honor of all those lost in the line of duty serving our communities throughout the nation. In 2019, we had 147 line of duty deaths, and 28 K9 line of duty deaths. The men and women of Boundary County and forever grateful to each of those lost and are proud to continue to serve our community. We will never forget the ultimate sacrifice these men and women made. All units break for a pause of silence. May you all rest in peace knowing that your strength lives on in your families, your legacy will be carried on through your children, and that your honor will continue on with all of us, thank you for your service. Memorial Last Call; clear, June 5, 2020 19:38.”

Concluding this year’s ceremony was the playing of the pipes by Pat Warkentin, as the Honor Guard walked past the crowd to retire their accoutrements until next time.

To find more information on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund visit: nle\omf.org

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(Photo by TONIA BROOKS) The Honor Guard presents during the annual Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony during the rainy evening of Friday, June 5 in honor of those who have fallen in the line of duty.

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(Photo by TONIA BROOKS) Community members braved the rain to pay tribute and honor the 147 law enforcement officers and 28 K9 officers who died in the line of duty during 2019.

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(Photo by TONIA BROOKS) Concluding this year’s ceremony was the playing of the pipes by Pat Warkentin, as the Honor Guard walked past the crowd to retire their accoutrements until next time.