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Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill delivers the keynote address at Friday afternoon’s LaPorte County Law Enforcement Peach Officer’s Memorial Service at Elston Middle School in Michigan City.

Heather Augustyn, The Times

MICHIGAN CITY—Members of the LaPorte, Michigan City, and Indiana state law enforcement community gathered with family of fallen police officers and retired police officers in the auditorium of Elston Middle School on Friday afternoon for the LaPorte County Law Enforcement Peace Officer’s Memorial Service.

Michigan City Chief of Police Mark Swistek led the memorial service and said that it was a tradition set by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 who declared May 15 Peace Officer’s Memorial Day.

“A career as a police officer is one of the most dangerous and most rewarding careers. Today is a day to honor law enforcement officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our LaPorte County community,” Swistek said.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill delivered the keynote address and told the crowd that the best way to honor the fallen police officers is by supporting the active police officers.

"We will honor the memories of the fallen beyond mere words. We will remember them with real actions and commit real resources," Hill said.

LaPorte County Sheriff John T. Boyd also spoke and said that last year and this year have been especially dangerous for police officers.

“There have been 145 police officers killed in the line of duty in the United States in 2016, and so far this year we are up 22 percent. Each year nearly 60,000 police officers are assaulted in the line of duty, but due to training and equipment, most were able to return to work, though not all,” Boyd said.

Boyd asked the family members of fallen police officers in the audience to stand as the participants applauded their sacrifice.

“Behind each hero is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a husband, a father, and a son," Boyd said. "We are going to work harder and smarter than ever before. We make a pledge that we will come home to you at the end of our shift.”

Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer also spoke and thanked families and officers for their dedication to the community, as did Doug Samuelson, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police.

“Each day over 900,000 police officers go to duty in the United States, not knowing if they will come home to their families,” said Sameulson, who shared memories of the officers he said he keeps in his heart when he goes to work.

Attendees viewed a slide presentation of each police officer in LaPorte County who has died in the line of duty or retired and passed away, and family members placed carnations in a memorial stand before adjourning for a fellowship and a luncheon.

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