Pittsfield's Police Memorial Ceremony honors law enforcement sacrifices

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PITTSFIELD — Some say people get into police work for the wrong reasons, said Police Chief Michael Wynn.

But most officers are driven by a call to service, he said.

"They recognize that in all civilized societies, some chosen few must make the decision to place themselves between chaos and order," he said. "These guardians must choose to move toward conflict, injury, devastation and death while most are running the other way."

Wynn's words came during an annual Police Memorial Ceremony on Wednesday at The Common. The event honored five on-duty law enforcement officers who have died in Pittsfield since the 1800s, as well as the 42 officers nationwide who have died in the line of duty so far this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

The annual event also marks National Police Week, and Mayor Linda Tyer read a proclamation during the event formally declaring May 12 through 18 for the same purpose.

"Today, we join communities around the nation in commemorating police officers, past and present, who by their faithful and loyal devotion to their responsibilities have rendered a dedicated service to their communities," she said. "And, in doing so, have established an enduring reputation for preserving the rights and security of all citizens."

Law enforcement motorcycles flashed blue at the front of the ceremony's procession, which included color guards from the Pittsfield Police Department and Berkshire County Sheriff's Office.

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Chaplain Russell Moody prayed to give strength, patience and wisdom to police officers near and far. He also wished comfort upon families of the fallen.

"Bless the peacemaker, for they shall be called the children of God," he said.

Each year Wynn said he strives to honor fallen officers by doing more to protect his personnel, noting equipment, training, access to screening and fitness.

As he spoke, an American flag flew from a crane in the background.

"It's not an agency that loses an officer," Wynn said. "It's an entire nation."

Bagpipe player Mary Brinton concluded the event with "Amazing Grace."

Meantime, a siren cried in the background as a police cruiser sped down Fenn Street.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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