Police officers take an oath to protect and serve all citizens no matter the cost. One community is honoring officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Whether a fire, robbery or murder, folks know their local police officers are the first on the scene and the last to leave. They serve and protect even at the cost of their own life.
"I hope the next time anybody hears a siren or sees an officer going, they won't say, ‘oh, he's going for donuts.’ They'll think instead maybe he's going to my house. Something might be wrong and say a little prayer for him," said Gene Crews, whose brother-in-law was killed in the line of duty.
For five Valdosta police officers, things did go terribly wrong, but their memory will live on through this monument.
"I hope that a visit to this monument and all other police monuments will help erase the picture that citizens sometimes see of those isolated incidents where maybe an officer isn't doing what he's supposed to be," said Valdosta Police Chief Frank Simions.
"I was very close to my uncle and he was taken away at a time in my life where I really looked up to him as a big brother and it was just hard everyday," said Marie Suggs, niece of fallen OFC Lee Crews.
But these families say the wounds will heal with time and the monument will only celebrate the lives and legacy of five fallen heroes.
The memorial was paid for with a grant from the United States Justice Department. It will be on display permanently outside the Valdosta Police Department.
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