NASHVILLE — Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott joined District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn today for a special memorial service to honor Tennessee State Troopers and other law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. In observance of National Police Week, the THP’s annual Memorial Service was held at the department’s headquarters on Foster Avenue in Nashville.
General Jimmy Dunn, who is a former state trooper, delivered the keynote address. Commissioner Bill Gibbons, THP Colonel Tracy Trott, members of the THP Command Staff, current and former State Troopers, and family members of fallen officers were also on hand for the ceremony.
Since the establishment of the Tennessee Highway Patrol in 1929, 39 Troopers have died in the line of duty. Trooper Andy Wall was the most recent State Trooper killed after a motorcycle accident in Rutherford County on May 7, 2011. Sergeant Charles Hash was the first fatality on April 11, 1930, succumbing to injuries sustained on motorcycle patrol in Shelby County.
“Today, we pause to honor the 39 State Troopers who lost their lives serving the state of Tennessee,” General Dunn said, who represents Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier Counties. “We will always remember their strength when overcoming adversity, courage in the face of danger and pride in wearing the Tennessee Highway Patrol uniform. We will forever be indebted for their service and to their families’ sacrifice.”
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 41 officers have been killed in the U.S. this year. None of those deaths were in Tennessee.
“Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to ensure the safety and security of our communities,” Commissioner Gibbons said. “We can never repay those family members and friends who have lost someone in the line of duty. However, the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice are fresh in our thoughts and prayers every day.”
The ceremony featured a pair of time-honored traditions in the roll call of fallen officers and the laying of wreaths, where Commissioner Gibbons, Deputy Commissioner Larry Godwin and Colonel Trott rested three wreaths in front of the Memorial Monument outside the department’s headquarters. Other highlights included a 21-gun salute and flyover by THP’s Special Operations Unit, T.A.P.S played by Sgt. Glenn Tate from the Tennessee Army National Guard and “Amazing Grace” performed by Piper Todd Boswell.
The THP Honor Guard, who competed and placed sixth in the Fraternal Order of Police Honor Guard Competition held last week in Washington, D.C., also participated in the ceremony.
“The 39 Tennessee State Troopers that we have lost have left a legacy of bravery and honor,” Colonel Trott said. “We will always remember the sacrifice they made for the Highway Patrol and the state of Tennessee. Let us also not to forget to commend those who continue to serve our state, despite the potential risks, with integrity and pride.”
Earlier this week, Deputy Commissioner Godwin and Colonel Trott took part in the national ceremonies marking National Police Week in Washington, D.C.
To view all of the Tennessee Highway Patrol members who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, visit the THP Memorial page at http://state.tn.us/safety/thpmemorial/memorialmain.htm