LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Louisville ceremony pays tribute to fallen police officers


Shively Police Chief Ralph Miller never worked with Detective John Weiss, but each day he comes to work he passes a memorial for Weiss in the lobby of his department, remembering the detective's death in 1986 while working a drug investigation.

On Thursday, Miller came to Jefferson Square to honor Weiss and dozens of other officers who have been killed in the line of duty. The memorial was held in conjunction with National Police Officers' Memorial Day, which will be held May 15 in Washington, D.C.

The deaths are "something we don't want to forget," Miller said. "It could be any of us."

About 100 people gathered in the bright sunshine of Jefferson Square before the memorial and eternal flame honoring officers killed in Jefferson County and beyond. The service was filled with the traditional honors - a wreath laying at the memorial, the sounds of "Taps" ring out, a 21-gun salute and the strains of the bagpipes.

Sue Wells, whose husband, Forest Hills Police Chief Randy Wells, was killed while working an off-duty traffic detail in October 2007, said the memorials create mixed emotions.

On one hand, Wells said she is honored that officers continue to gather to remember those lost. "There's a lot of pride here," she said. "I'm just glad the community supports these organizations."

But on the flip side, Wells said she didn't get much sleep Wednesday night as she thought about her husband's death.

"It's good and bad emotions," she said. "It just brings everything back, like it was yesterday."

For Brandi Mundo, whose husband, La Grange Officer Eddie Mundo Jr., was killed in 2003, the memorials are an opportunity to connect with women who understand what she's been through.

"It's a great honor," Mundo said. "I really look forward to seeing these ladies - people who know what I've lost."

Melissa Patrick, whose husband Scott was an Indiana State Trooper killed in 2003 in Gary, said she appreciates how she is always embraced by officers, whether they knew her husband or not.

"They love you like you're one of their own," Patrick said.

Eric Johnson, founder of Supporting Heroes, a group that supports survivors of officers killed in the line of duty, reminded the crowd that over the next several days, memorials will be held all around the country honoring thousands of officers.

He told the crowd that it is people's duty to remember the families left behind, and support them and the officers who are still serving.

"Let us pray today, and everyday, that there will never be a reason to add another name to this wall," Johnson said.