NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk police officers who have given their lives in the line of duty were honored at a ceremony outside the Norwalk Police Department on Wednesday, May 14.
Four Norwalk police officers have died in the line of duty.
Sgt. Frank Stratton was killed in 1930 when hit by a car while taking two suspects into custody.
Officer Sherald Gorton was killed in 1962 when he was struck by a construction vehicle while working a traffic assignment at a construction site.
Sgt. Nicholas Fera was shot and killed in 1971 while attempting to arrest two armed robbery suspects.
Officer Marco Carias was killed in 1982 in a motor vehicle accident while operating an undercover state police vehicle.
The ceremony featured a candle lighting for each of the fallen officers, a retiring of the colors and salute by the Norwalk Police Honor Guard, a motorcycle procession led by Norwalk police and featuring officers from surrounding communities. Detective Kristina LaPak performed several musical selections accompanied by David Harris on the piano.
"We have to appreciate the fact that when others are running away from danger, police officers are running towards it, prepared to give up their lives. And they do this willingly, the do it without hesitation," said Mayor Harry Rilling, a former chief of the Norwalk Police Department.
"I can tell you that having served with these men and women, and police officers around the state of Connecticut and meeting police officers around the country, I am proud to have been a police officer, to have worn the blue uniform, to walk among them," Rilling said.
"They deserve profound honor for what they do and what they’re willing to do," said U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.
"It’s important that we take the time to formally acknowledge and recognize the sacrifices that have been made. As part of the brotherhood in blue we must take a leadership role in assuring that we truly never forget," said Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik.
Kulhawik also encouraged those in attendance to support organizations such as the National Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, which provides upkeep to memorials, and the Connecticut 100 Club, which supports families of fallen officers.
"Although words are important, it is through positive action that we can assure we never forget," Kulhawik said. "Remembering and supporting the families is crucial to honoring the heroes that have left us."
Sgt. David Orr, president of the Norwalk Police Union, said that on average a police officer is killed about once every three days.
"When we come to work, we have no idea what we’ll face during our shift, or what we’ll have to overcome. The only certainty, is that whatever happens, we as officers will be called upon to deal with it. This is a challenge that we willingly and very proudly accept," said Orr. "The most fitting tribute we can pay to our fallen brothers and sisters, is to continue on performing the job that they died doing."