BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Governor John Bel and First Lady Donna Edwards hosted a ceremony on the front lawn of the Governor's Mansion Monday to honor area law enforcement.
The Governor's Mansion remained cloaked in blue Monday night following the ceremony, in memory of the nine Louisiana police officers who lost their lives in 2016 and in honor of those who still protect and serve daily across the state.
Several dozen law enforcement officers and community members gathered on the lawn in honor of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. They tied ribbons to the front gate and reflected on a trying 2016 in Louisiana.
"Over the past year, our state has been tested, and while we have a long way to go to make sure that there are no divides in our communities, I know that our law enforcement officials are serving us very well," Edwards said.
Governor Edwards said while there is still work to be done in police-community relations, he is confident Louisianans are ready to face those challenges together.
"We are stronger, our bonds are tighter, and there's so much more that unites us than divides us," Edwards added.
The families of fallen officers, Deputy Brad Garafola and Cpl. Montrell Jackson were also at the ceremony. State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson said there is not a day that goes by that he does not think about those families and the sacrifices of their loved ones.
"I so badly wanted to give y'all more than just words today," said State Police Col. Mike Edmonson. "Sometimes we just sit there and go, 'Why? Why us? Why our families and why our time?'"
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said perhaps the best thing to say to any law enforcement officer or their families is the simplest. "Thank you for your dedication, thank you for your commitment, and thank you for the sacrifices to serve our community day in and day out," she added.
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is not just local. Similar events were held in cities across the country Monday to honor the men and women who serve and protect.