Friends, family and coworkers of fallen members of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office gathered Friday morning to pay tribute to the 71 corrections officers and deputy sheriffs who died in service.
The deceased officers date as far back as 1887 and as recently as April 1 of this year.
“It is important to remember these individuals and the hard work they have dedicated to the sheriff’s office,” said Louis Viscusi, president of the Suffolk County Correction Officers Association.
The memorial service at the Sheriff’s Office in Riverhead featured a gun salute, a presentation of colors by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, a performance by the Suffolk County Emerald Society Police Pipe Band and a placement of wreaths next to a monument honoring the lives lost.
Correction Officer Megan Adamo sang the national anthem in front of the dozens of attendees before an introduction by master of ceremonies Steve Bellone, the Suffolk County Executive, and the memorial address by Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, Jr.
“Today we honor the service and sacrifice of our officers, not only for the sake of those who have passed on, but as a reminder to all of us that remain,” Mr. Toulon said. “I am so proud to stand before you today knowing that behind these cement walls and among us today are some of the county’s most dedicated and courageous members of law enforcement. These are officers who put their lives on the line every day in a very challenging environment, whether behind bars or out in the community.”
The names of all 71 deceased sworn members were read at the end of the ceremony, with a bell being rung after the announcement of each name.
Family members in attendance were then each presented with a rose that they placed on top of the monument honoring those lost.
“The loss of a loved one is never easy,” Mr. Bellone said. “To all the families, friends, community members who are joining us here today — our officers who passed away while serving people of this county will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with you now and always. We are incredibly grateful to have such dedicated and selfless public servants to protect our neighborhoods, our families and help keep us safe.”