Lee County’s fallen heros honored at memorial
By Edna Ward
The 2015 Law Enforcement Officers Memorial local ceremony was hosted by the Auburn Police Department May 13. The service remembered Lee County’s five heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice: Sheriff W. S. “Buck” Jones (June 29, 1932), Lt. Moitt Brenton Truitt, Jr., (June 30, 1970), Sgt. Roger Lamar Motley, Jr. (Oct. 4, 1993), Deputy James W. Anderson (Sept. 3, 2009) and Chief Henry Dilmus Hart (Feb. 1, 1884). Hart’s name will be added to the Opelika memorial later this year.
The annual ceremony alternates among the three local law enforcement jurisdictions even though the Auburn Police Department has, fortunately, never had an officer to lose his/her life in the course of duty. Next year’s ceremony will be held at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Auburn Police Chief Paul Register welcomed special guests (family members of the five fallen officers), elected officials and visitors.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones explained that in the 400 block of East Street Northwest in Washington is a blue/grey marble monument of special significance. It is the National Peace Officers Memorial containing the names of 20,000 peace officers, men and women, who have given their lives in the line of duty. He requested that we tread lightly there because it is sacred ground. The names of five from Lee County are engraved on the memorial. Jones went on to ask, “Did it really make a difference?”
Jones explained law enforcement has taken severe criticism recently. Right or wrong, it has taken a toll on uniformed officers. The vast majority of peace officers are doing their jobs with their whole hearts and souls. They want their families safe, their communities safe while trying to make our communities better places to live. The five who served locally are honored along with their families. We need to make sure they are remembered.
Opelika Chief John McEachern paid tribute to Chief Henry Dilmus Hart; Lt. Moit Brenton Truitt, Jr. and Sgt. Roger Motley, Jr., Opelika’s fallen law enforcement oficers. Guest speaker Marshall Arthur Bailey, Middle District of Alabama, United States Marshall Service, began with a thank you to the families who are the reasons that make officers come to work. Law Enforcement Officers’ families are real heroes, too. He said, “It is hard on families when their loved ones walk out to work every day and they never know for sure they are coming back home. We are now going through some rough times. Law enforcement is not the enemy. Without peace officers there would be anarchy and chaos. Already this year there have been 44 peace officers killed in the USA. Four of the 44 have been in Alabama including traffic accidents and gun shots. When an officer pulls someone out of a burning car – they are heroes. They are heroes every day. Please pray for law enforcement officers and their families.”
Dr. George Mathison, Pastor Auburn United Methodist Church, offered the closing prayer. Among Dr. Mathison’s remarks, “One hundred and seventeen officers were killed in 2014 in the USA; when a police officer is killed, the entire nation loses. This gathering today is a precious site to behold.”