CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Every day when an officer puts on a badge, there's no guarantee he's coming home. Thursday, Clayton County remembered those officers who died in the line of duty.
A single bell tolled for each of the nine law enforcement officers from the Clayton County Police Department, Clayton County Sheriff's Office, Riverdale Police Department and Forrest Park Police Department who have died.
"As I was reading the names, I could feel the weight and had to pause for a moment with those memories in mind," said Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts.
"They're heroes because they answered the call, when trouble arose, when evil lifted its head, they answered the call," said Clayton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Turner.
The parents of Officer Darrell Wallace were at the memorial. Their son died on March 15, 2015, while responding to a call about a prowler. Andreane Wallace said her son understood the dangers of the job.
"You know that every day, any day, could be the day," said Wallace.
She was pleased with the service.
"It helps. It helps heal, knowing he's not forgotten," said Wallace.
Wallace's name is on a memorial wall in front of the police department along with the names of the others who have died.
Chief Kevin Roberts said Memorial services like this one remind us all that those who wear the badge are human. Men and women who have families, who choose to put their lives on the line to protect others.
Chief Roberts said he has seen the challenges of being an officer mount with the string of Officer Involved Shootings in Georgia over the past month, and the violence toward law enforcement across the country.
"If the pattern continues, there's a greater chance we'll have more names added to the wall and we don't want that," said Chief Roberts.