Annual memorial service honors fallen officers

Published 7:00 am Monday, June 3, 2024

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The Greenville Police Department held its 25th annual memorial service Wednesday, May 15, commemorating the sacrifices of local law enforcement officers. More than 100 guests attended the event, which took place at the Wendell Mitchell Conference Center on the Lurleen B Wallace Community College Greenville campus.

“We do it every year in May to coincide with national law enforcement week, and this is our 25th year,” said Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn. “All law enforcement in the Greenville area is welcome. We have the police department, the Sheriff’s office, Troopers, game wardens… everyone in the county involved in law enforcement is invited.”

Lovvorn and Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond led the ceremony by reading the names of fallen officers, followed by a patriotic song performed by Fort Dale Academy’s fourth grade class. 

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Keynote speaker for the event was Dr. T.C. Fuller, a retired Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) interrogator and firearms instructor, who delivered a powerful speech highlighting the dedication and bravery of law enforcement officers. 

In addition to honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice, the ceremony also celebrated the service of the department’s current officers.

The Greenville Police Department presented several awards during the service. The Officer of the Year award was given to Cpl. Anthony Derby, recognizing his exceptional service and commitment to the community. Sgt. Tony Jordan received the Gary Wayne Heath Education Award for his dedication to ongoing training and education within the force.

“The primary awards are the Officer of the Year award for us, and the Sheriff’s Office does Deputy of the Year,” said Lovvorn. “But we also do other awards such as our Lifesaver Award, and we’ve had quite a few of those this year.”

The Butler County Sheriff’s Department presented its Deputy of the Year award to Sam Turner.

“As soon as we hired him, he just fell into place. He gets along well with everyone, and he works hard,” said Sheriff Danny Bond. “Right off the bat, he ran down a couple of warrants.”

Turner was chosen for the award through a vote by his fellow deputies. 

“We let all the deputies vote and he was the one that was voted for,” Bond explained. “He’s just an all-around good guy.”

The memorial service served as a poignant reminder of the risks faced by law enforcement officers daily and the importance of recognizing their service and sacrifice.