With National Police Week beginning across the country Sunday, the Harford County Sheriff's Office stopped briefly Thursday morning to remember the deputies it has lost in the line of duty.
After about 150 bikers with the national Police Unity Tour stopped at the Sheriff's Office Southern Precinct in Edgewood earlier in the morning, Sheriff's Office employees, family members and friends and others from the public paid tribute to the seven HCSO members who died in the line of duty: Frank Bateman, Deputy First Class William H. Beebe Jr., Deputy First Class Teresa Testerman, Cpl. Charles Licato, Sgt. Ian Loughran, Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logston.
During a ceremony that had been moved into the station's garage before the rain began to fall, Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler and Col. Steven Bodway presented the wreath of white roses that will stand this weekend at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., where the names of Senior Deputy Dailey and DFC Logsdon will be unveiled during a ceremony Saturday evening. The two Harford deputies were shot and killed Feb. 10, 2016 at the Boulevard at Box Hill Shopping Center.
A red rose was placed among the white ones to represent each of the Sheriff's Office's fallen deputies.
"This is ceremony to recognize the heroes of the Harford County Sheriff's Office, to remember our co-workers and also to remember our friends," Gahler said. "I want to thank the family members of our fallen heroes today. Thank you for sharing your family with the Harford County Sheriffs Office and with the citizens of Harford County."
The seven men and woman are also remembered in a memorial recently installed outside the Southern Precinct by C. Milton Wright High junior Garrett Humphries for his Eagle Scout project. The names are engraved on small placards on the wall above a small garden that was unveiled Sunday.
"I am happy for what he [Humphries] has done for us, but happy is not a word that comes to mind when you look at the memorial," Gahler said.
He said the six men and one woman, "our brothers and sisters, our fallen heroes," made the ultimate sacrifice.
"They were our friends and they will forever be our heroes," he said. "We hope and pray we are never faced with adding another name to that wall."
Each of the seven, and other law enforcement officers from Harford County and elsewhere in Maryland who died in the line of duty, served with honor and dedication, Gahler said.
The Sheriff's Office's ceremony, he added, is for a time of reflection and appreciation and a way for the public to join in remembering Harford's fallen officers. He said he hopes to make it an annual event leading up to National Police Week.
"After we lost Pat [Dailey] and Mark [Logsdon] to unspeakable violence, we were overwhelmed with support from the community," Gahler said. "This is an opportunity for the community to join in the remembrance."