More than 100 people, including police officers from a dozen agencies serving Bryan County, gathered at Market Square on Thursday for an event marking National Peace Officer Memorial Day.
Durant police officers placed a memorial wreath in front of the stage, and officers from various agencies placed a rose for each of the 11 law enforcement personnel killed in the line of duty in Bryan County since 1894.
Fifteen municipal, state, tribal and federal agencies enforce the law in Bryan County. Eleven individuals representing seven agencies have given their lives, most recently a Bryan County deputy in 1998.
Three Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers died in a gunfight with escaped convicts in Caddo and Kenefic in 1978; two Bryan County lawmen have died in the line of duty; two Bokchito city marshals also gave all; and Bennington, Caddo, the Oklahoma ABLE agency and the US Marshals each have lost an officer on Bryan County soil.
A representative of State Sen. Josh Brecheen and Legislator Dustin Roberts read a citation issued at the state capitol to honor fallen police officers. Durant City Manager James Dunegan, a former Dallas policeman, delivered passionate comments urging the public to support and respect lawmen.
“Folks need to support their law enforcement and build that respect,” he said. “When you lose that respect, you contribute to the downfall of your community and the nation. With these law enforcement officers here today, we have a safe community.”
Durant’s ministerial alliance provided a barbecue supper for police officers and their families on Thursday at the Durant Police Department to honor the occasion and express their appreciation for the services provided by police men and women.