Hundreds of Nevada law enforcement, supporters, friends and family gathered at the capital Thursday to honor all of the fallen Nevada peace officers.
Officers from agencies across the state were at the Capitol grounds for the Nevada Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony to honor law enforcement officers in Nevada who gave their lives in the line of duty.
“This month in cities and towns across the state, we stand as a Nevada family to express our gratitude for our fallen law enforcement officers,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval.
This year, the ceremony honored fallen North Las Vegas Police Detective Chad Parque, who was killed Jan. 7 in an auto accident while on duty.
“I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Chad, but I was told his love for his community and baseball could only be outdone by his love for his wife and family,” Sandoval said.
The ceremony began with the posting of the colors by the Nevada Combined Honor Guard and the presentation of the memorial run baton. The baton is run from Southern Nevada to Carson City the week leading up to the event. The last leg is run into the Capitol grounds by officers and was given to Parque’s widow. The baton holds all 130 names of the fallen Nevada peace officers.
“This is every chief or sheriff’s worst fear,” said North Las Vegas Chief of Police Alexander Perez. “Chad was a rising star in our organization and he was a true defender of the defenseless. His death left us with an empty place in our hearts.”
Alongside Perez and Sandoval, Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell also spoke in support of law enforcement.
“I don’t need to tell you, it is not easy to remain calm, professional and understanding during some of the events that our officers address each and every day but somehow our folks manage to do just that, and for that, we as a collective society are and will always be eternally grateful,” Crowell said. “I don’t need to tell you that the dangers you face each and every day, whether in uniform or not, include the ultimate risk of sacrificing your life so others may savor the fruits of freedom we enjoy in the communities of our great state of Nevada.”
In addition, Crowell announced every May would be the Shine Blue Lights, for citizens to put blue lights on their front porches to show support for law enforcement.
Crowell explained it was important to support them because law enforcement allows Carson City to enjoy a great quality of life.
“In this state we enjoy a quality of life unparalleled in our nation,” Crowell said. “But that quality of life does not just happen. A large part of the way of life we enjoy is the result of our law enforcement professionals, professionals who are at work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep us safe. Professionals who go out of their way to let the young and old know they are not the enemy but our protectors who are also members of our community.”
Assemblyman Jason Frierson also spoke at the ceremony and presented a proclamation to the law enforcement officers and Parque’s family.
“This is an expression of our gratitude and honor to Parque’s family and his memory,” Frierson said.
The ceremony ended with the presentation of the memorial wreath and the presentation of the U.S. flag to Parque’s wife and daughter by Legislative Police Chief John Drew, followed by the 21 gun salute and taps.
“To the public, we serve, remember the danger our officers face protecting your freedoms,” Perez said. “We need your faith, we need your help, we need your commitment and above all we need your support... we can’t ease the pain or fill the emptiness in your heart but take solace in knowing they protected our community, our way of life and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.”