VALPARAISO | The police officers who work to keep the city safe lined up in their dress blues Wednesday to be honored and to honor fellow officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The annual memorial service to honor Valparaiso police was held in the parking lot of the department under a steady rain with onlookers hoisting umbrellas to stay dry.
Police chaplain Garner Tullis, senior pastor at Bethel Valparaiso, thanked the officers for their service to the community.
"Thank you on behalf of all the law abiding citizens in Valparaiso. I'm sure those who are not law abiding would not thank you," Tullis said.
Chief Michael Brickner, after administering the oath to his officers, also welcomed friends and family members in attendance.
"Welcome to all who came to celebrate police week and to remember those lost in duty," Brickner said.
In his remarks, Brickner touched on the history of the memorial in recalling that former President John F. Kennedy established National Police Week in 1962 as “a heartfelt tribute to those who serve and have sacrificed so much in the name of public safety.”
Brickner told the officers how proud he is of their service then thanked them.
"There are two words you as officer seldom hear and they are thank you. I thank you for your tireless effort to keep the city safe," Brickner said.
Mayor Jon Costas also thanked the officers for keeping the community safe.
"I'm immensely appreciative of not just what you do but how you do it," Costas said.
Costas said what the officers do each day to protect the citizens in the city is the "foundation of all that happens in the community."
"You stand as a symbol for what is right. ... I'm immensely proud of all you have accomplished," Costas said.
The memorial service to honor Valparaiso police was started 10 years ago, Brickner said.
The service, which generally includes an inspection of squad cars, was shortened due to the rain.