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In their memory: 7th annual Blue Lives Matter event held at McDonald and Son
Blue Lives Matter
Members of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office pay respect after laying down flowers for officers who died in the line of duty this year at the seventh annual Blue Lives Matter event. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

During a ceremony Tuesday, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Allan Frampton began listing names of fallen police officers.

For the next 40 minutes, Frampton and other speakers continued to call names and date of death of every officer who died in the line of duty in 2022.

The seventh annual Blue Lives Matter event was held at McDonald and Son Funeral Home, featuring speakers, the reading of 180 names and other memorials to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“In 2020, there were 424 line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement only,” said Forsyth County Coroner Paul Holbrook, who led the service. “In 2021, 644. This year 180. Thankfully, it’s going down. I hope it continues to go down.”

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, those figures include officers who were killed in the line of duty, died of illness, died in an auto accident and other causes.

The Rev. Craig Richard, of Oak Grove Baptist Church, spoke at the ceremony about the importance of law enforcement officers and what they mean in the community, even if they might not always be seen.

“From the funerals that you lead in procession and honor those families to every school resource officer that I see every single day at different schools, and I see them joking around with kids, just being visible in the area, I thought about all the lives … that you have saved and for every person and even placed under arrest for DUI, who knows, about one minute, one mile down the road, that could have been my family and myself or your family and yourself that they crossed over the line and hit head-on.”

James Dunn, an assistant district attorney who will be the next state court judge of Forsyth County starting in 2023, spoke about his experience working with local law enforcement, including them having to give accounts of gruesome crime scenes and experiences during trials.

“People don’t understand that there’s so much emotion,” Dunn said. “Every call, you are dealing with a volatile situation with different people who have different backgrounds, and they have to deal with it. Within five seconds, they have to try to sum up the situation and come up with an appropriate response, and too often, these days we are quick to armchair quarterback.”

While the ceremony was a somber remembrance of those who lost their lives, before and after the ceremony was a chance for the public to meet and interact with law enforcement.

Before capping the night with fireworks, other festivities included a meal with food donated from local restaurants, a bounce house and vehicles from all kinds of law enforcement, including a Georgia State Patrol helicopter landing on McDonald and Sons’ front lawn.