Tucson Police honors fallen officers - Tucson News Now

Tucson Police honors fallen officers

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson Police officers gathered in memory of their fallen comrades on Thursday evening.

A somber memorial service was held outside the Tucson Police Department's downtown headquarters. Officers, their families, and community members filled up the outside lawn.

A motorcade of motorcycle officers, a rifle salute, and helicopter flyover were part of the ceremony.

Police Chief Roberto Villasenor addressed the crowd, saying this was never an easy day, but it was necessary.  Villasenor said in his 30 plus years with the department he had personally known four of the eight fallen officers.

Villasenor said he had the tough job of delivering the news of the death to family members.  The Chief choked up as he recounted the incident.

As each officer's name was read aloud, family members or a friend walked up to place a red rose at the memorial, as a symbol of their sacrifice. 

Among the family members there was the wife of fallen officer Patrick Hardesty.

"It's a pain that never goes away.  You just learn to live through it," said Demetra Hardesty.

Chief Villasenor said today was a reminder of how dedicated every officer was to service.

"There is often times conflict that rises up.  There are people who question how we do things, but what I would ask is don't question the motives, because we really do want to help people.  These eight demonstrated that they were willing to give their lives to help others," said Villasenor.

The names of the fallen officers in the city are:  Officer William Elliott, Officer William Katzenstein, Officer Robert Cummins, Officer Barry Headricks, Officer James Smith, Officer Jeffrey Ross, Officer Patrick Hardesty, and Officer Erik Hite.

Hite was the last officer killed in the line of duty in 2008.

This memorial service is one of many taking place to honor fallen law enforcement personnel throughout the country.

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