Columbus officer killed in line-of-duty recognized at US capital -, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus officer killed in line-of-duty recognized at US capital

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Law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty were recognized at a solemn memorial service in Uptown Columbus Thursday night.

A disproportionate number of police have died in our region over the past year, and top officials from across the state came to Columbus to recognize them.

Last year, Cpl. Keith Slay was killed while responding to a fellow officer's call for back up. The ceremony that occurred on Columbus State University's campus occurred in conjunction with the service at the U.S. capital.

"Today in Washington, Corporal Keith Slay's name was placed on the wall, along with some twenty thousand other names, to be enshrined there for people all over the United States to see.  We've had individuals that have been killed in the line of duty, all the way back to the 1700s here in Columbus, and tonight, we'll honor not only their memory but their families," said Chief Ricky Boren.

Two students have been awarded scholarships in Slay's memory and his father was presented with a token from the national memorial at Thursday's service.

Thomas Raymond Slay said, "I could never thank FOP enough and C.O.P.S. It's just been fabulous what everyone has done.  Several members of the police department have really gone out of their way to help me and I will never forget it."

State Attorney General Sam Olens commended law enforcement for their critical role in a changing society. 

"As the state's lawyer, we uphold the rule of law and the constitution each and every day, but you're actually on the streets making sure it applies. You're making sure that the vulnerable are protected, you're making sure that our freedoms actually mean something."

Sgt. Daniel Davis of the Phenix City Department was also recognized at the Georgia-focused memorial.

Phenix City Asst. Chief, Robert Casteel, said "We work so closely with the people in Columbus and when we lose an officer, they feel our pain, when they lose an officer, we feel their pain. We work together every day, so it's like one big family."

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 9 President Randy Robertson spoke at length about his good friend, Vincent Pasko, who died tragically last year.  His memory was honored the Don Mclean song, 'Vincent'.

"This event started in 1962 with President Kennedy, and he realized the necessity of reaching out to the families of law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives protecting the citizens of America," said Robertson.

"It's just important because we want to honor the sacrifices our brothers and sisters have made, and it's good for our officers so we're able to keep our brothers' and sisters' memories alive," said Cpl. Jennifer Horton

Nearly twenty law enforcement agencies were represented at tonight's event.  Besides Columbus, the other two departments that lost officers in 2013 were Barwick Police in south Georgia and DeKalb County Police.

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