Moving ceremony in Port Angeles honors fallen officers
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
American Legion Rider Bobby Cannon, left, salutes Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement Officer Brian Fairbanks, husband of slain U.S. Forest Service Officer Kristine Fairbanks, after presenting Fairbanks with an American flag during a Peace Officer Memorial Day ceremony on Wednesday at Veterans Park in Port Angeles.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — The solemn tolling of the bell at Veterans Memorial Park and the sharp cracks of a 21-gun salute echoed off the buildings along Lincoln Street as law enforcement officers and their families gathered Wednesday for the annual Peace Officer Memorial Day ceremony.

Between 30 and 40 civilians and law enforcement officers, both retired and active, from agencies across Clallam County turned out to the park near the county courthouse for the ceremony, which honors both officers who have fallen in the line of duty and those who serve today.

“I think it's just great to have an official ceremony honoring those who put their lives on the line every day,” said County Commissioner Mike Chapman, who read a proclamation approved the day before by commissioners recognizing May 15 as Peace Officer Memorial Day.

Members of the American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders, standing at attention with American flags, lined the concrete path leading past the reflection pool at Veterans Memorial Park as ceremony attendees stood silently in the grass behind them.

Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict led the ceremony.

Benedict named two county law enforcement officers who had given their lives in the line of duty in the past 10 years: Sheriff's Deputy Wally Davis and U.S. Forest Service Officer Kristin Fairbanks.

Brian Fairbanks, Kristine Fairbanks' husband and a law enforcement officer with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, accepted a folded American flag near the end of the ceremony in honor of his wife.

Chapman and Benedict agreed that Wednesday's turnout was second only to that of the memorial ceremony after Kristine Fairbanks was shot and killed in the hills above Sequim by Shawn Roe on Sept. 20, 2008.

“Every year, [attendance has] grown,” Chapman said.

The ceremony concluded with 21 rings on the park bell, a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” and a 21-gun salute and playing of taps by the Marine Corps League.

“We appreciate you recognizing law enforcement, both active and retired, and those who have fallen,” Benedict told the crowd as the ceremony ended.

Roe, who also killed Sequim retiree Richard Ziegler, 69, and stole his truck, was gunned down the night of Sept. 20 by Clallam sheriff's deputies outside a Blyn convenience store.

Davis, 48, was shot and killed Aug. 5, 2000, by Thomas Martin Roberts after Davis responded alone to a domestic disturbance call in northeast Port Angeles.

Roberts was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder and was serving a life sentence at the Monroe Correctional Complex until his death from a type of mouth cancer in the prison infirmary in January.

Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at

Last modified: May 15. 2013 6:16PM
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