In the first-ever Fallen Heroes Memorial, the Boulder Police Department on Friday honored the seven members of the department who died in the line of duty.
That includes the most recent death, Officer Eric Talley, who on Friday was posthumously honored with the Medal of Honor after being killed responding to a mass shooting at a King Soopers in south Boulder on March 22.
The new ceremony, which the department plans to now hold annually, will coincide with Peace Officers Memorial Day on Saturday and National Peace Officers Memorial Week.
After a rendition of “Amazing Grace” by Boulder police Detective Kristin Weisbach, Boulder police Chief Maris Herold talked about the need for policing.
“We are meant to be the fabric of our communities,” Herold said. “Democracy fails when policing fails.”
Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver in his remarks noted that police officers have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, and said that discussion needs to continue.
“But we cannot forget the inherent dangers and sacrifices faced by those in these roles,” Weaver said.
In talking to Talley’s family and the officers in attendance, Weaver said, “Our hearts are with you… Our community sees your dedication and we value you immensely.”
New Boulder City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde is relatively new to the community, but was in Boulder on March 22 as news broke of the shooting that claimed the life of Talley along with nine civilians.
“My heart sank when I heard of the outcome and the consequences,” she said. “Today I stand with you humbly in solidarity to honor officers to whom we owe our deepest gratitude.”
Following the speakers, Sgt. Alastair McNiven read the names of the members of the department killed in the line of duty: Chief Lawrence Bass, Officer Elmer Cobb, Officer Raymond McMaster, Officer Gary Mills, Officer Janet Hinkle, Officer Beth Haynes and Talley.
As each of their names were read, members of the department laid blue flowers on the stone memorial outside the Boulder police station that bears all of the names but Talley’s, who will be added in the near future.
Then Herold presented Talley’s wife Leah with his Medal of Honor, the highest honor the Boulder Police Department bestows.
“Without hesitation, he ran straight into the store that day,” Herold said of the 11-year veteran. “He made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his community.”