BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police took time Thursday evening to honor troopers lost in the line of the duty.
With flags flying at half-staff, a crowd gathered in front of Louisiana State Police Headquarters. At the center of the crowd was a bronze statue depicting three troopers standing shoulder to shoulder. The faces, though clear, are nondescript. The resemblances are not tied to race or age. There are no weapons depicted on the bust, just the troopers in uniform.
Framing the statue is a semicircle of columns, each one bearing names of the 27 LSP troopers lost since 1925.
"It's about making that commitment that you're not going to forget them," said Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police. "What they did over the last 70 years, it built the foundation that we now stand on."
Over the past 90 years, 27 sacrifices were made and not one is forgotten. Many family members in the crowd for the memorial service wiped tears from their eyes as the manner of death was recited along with each name. Some died from gunshot wounds and others from traffic accidents. The same names and stories are told to each new class of cadets hoping to wear the LSP badge.
To the side, a Marine stood at attention while LSP troopers lay flowers on the columns.
"They died; we stand at attention," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Kendall (retired). "We will salute them. We will stand at attention for them for however long and it doesn't matter which uniform."
Kendall is also a retired state trooper. He followed in the footsteps of his father, John. John's name was one of those read out loud during the memorial. He was killed in 2011.
"I come here to honor him because without him, there's no telling what I would have been," Kendall explained.
At what many feel is a time of unrest for law enforcement and those they protect, the memorial carries a deep message.
"It is happening nationwide. What effect does that have on Louisiana? We've been in a posture that these things have not happened. I've got to believe that it's because we've been proactive. You can be a part of the community or a part from it. In Louisiana, we chose to be a part of it," Emonson added.
The ceremony was part of National Police Week, which honors all law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
There will be several other memorial services for other branches taking place Friday.