Police take pause at Law Enforcement Memorial (with video)

Officers, relatives reflect on deaths in the line of duty

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Many wearing black mourning bands attached diagonally over their badges, area law enforcement officers gathered Thursday to honor fellow officers who have died in the line of duty.

"Every morning when they put on their uniforms, there is a moment of realization that this might be the day that you don't come home," Clark County Sheriff Garry Lucas said to the crowd of attendees. "We pause to take this time to recognize those individuals who have given their lives in service to our country and our community."

The annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony took place Thursday morning in the courtyard of the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. The ceremony included the posting of the colors, a 21-gun salute, singing of Amazing Grace and playing of "Taps."

Cathy Crawford, sister-in-law to fallen Clark County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Brad Crawford, said she and her family try to come to the ceremony every year.

Brad Crawford was killed while on duty by a drunken driver in July 2004. A 2.5-acre park in Felida was named after him in his memory.

Cathy Crawford said the ceremony was "exactly what it was supposed to be: a chance to stop and reflect on these kinds of events."

The Crawford family said that the

ceremony made them experience the tragedy again, but that it was a good thing.

"It's a great thing that the community stops and says thank you," Cathy Crawford said. "He was one of my heroes."

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Vancouver Police Department Interim Chief Chris Sutter collapsed and hit his head on the paved surface of the courtyard.

Officers circled around Sutter while medical personnel treated him, though eventually he was transported to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. His condition was not available Thursday evening.

View a video of the memorial ceremony on The Columbian's YouTube Channel.

Emily Gillespie: http://twitter.com/col_cops; 360-735-4522; emily.gillespie@columbian.com.