The City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Sheriff have cancelled the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial ceremony, leaving many families and community members upset that they received little or no notice and will miss the opportunity to honor their loved ones who died in service and those who serve honorably today.
Here’s how it happened:
More than a week ago, BCSO staff began announcing the program with “Save the Date” emails. Here’s the text of one we obtained:
From: Josette J. Rey
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:04 AM
Subject: Law Enforcement Memorial
… this year the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department is working in conjunction with the Albuquerque Police Department to hold the Law Enforcement Memorial.
This year’s event will take place on May 14th from 12 to 1….
Josette Rey | Training Assistant
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department
The Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association even included the City of Albuquerque’s announcement in a recent member communication about events happening all month:
After checking the city’s website and finding that the event no longer appeared on Civic Plaza’s calendar, we reached out to the Mayor’s Office and Bernalillo County Sheriff.
Breanna Anderson of the Mayor’s Office confirmed that the event had been cancelled but referred us to the Sheriff for more information.
BCSO Sgt. Aaron Williamson simply told us that:
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Aaron Williamson <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, May 5, 2014 at 9:35 PM
Subject: Re: Memorial Service tomorrow?
To: Pat Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yes we consolidated all the memorials into the state memorial on the 21st
Sergeant Aaron Williamson
Public Information Officer
For as many years as anyone can remember, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have held a ceremony each year to honor our own local officers who died in the line of duty, including those Military Police officers who died in service to our country. The smaller ceremony, held at the state police academy in Santa Fe, has always happened later and was never designed to replace our local service honoring our local heroes.
Now, that tradition has been cancelled – with no notice or explanation to the public or survivors. Worse, survivors from Albuquerque are now asked to forfeit their own service in their own community to travel to Santa Fe for another event at a later time.
Our Take: Albuquerque is facing a crisis in our law enforcement relationship, but that’s no excuse to ignore the sacrifice honorable officers and their families have made to this community, whether they served in good times or bad.
Even those officials who are scared of protests or demonstrations against recent police involved shootings, should be able to do their job to manage those events and honor the fallen.
“I was a police officer for 10 years, and lost good friends in the line of serve – including one right here in Albuquerque,” says Pat Davis of ProgressNowNM. “His example, and the sacrifice of his family, are exactly the type of service our community leaders should be holding up in this time of crisis. Shame on them for taking the easy way out and breaking this important tradition.”
Call Sheriff Houston and Mayor Berry and tell them ABQ wants the chance to honor our heroes.