Dayton, Ohio (WDTN) – Hundreds of police officers and others gathered at Riverscape, Friday to honor the 38 Montgomery County law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
This past year, Ohio lost four officers, two of them coming from Westerville.
Lt. Ronald McMillin of the Westerville Police Department spoke to officers from around Montgomery County, keeping two of this own, Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli, close to his heart after they died on duty in early 2018.
“They challenged me to become better as an officer and as a supervisor,” said Lt. McMillin.
He remembers the support the entire state showed his community during their tragic grieving period.
“From the time we were notified that Tony and Eric were shot. Officers from all over central Ohio came to our rescue,” said Lt. McMillin. “When we heard that an entire convey from the Montgomery County area came to Westerville. We wanted to express our gratitude for that.”
WDTN’s own Mark Allan has emcee’d the memorial ceremony since the beginning. The event holds a special place in Allan’s heart.
“These officers were just like you,” Allan said to the crowd. “That should not be forgotten. You may put yourself in danger a thousand times and come out unscathed every time or just once and not come home at all,” said Allan as he thanked officers.
“It’s also a reminder to all of us, how precious life is. Tomorrow is not guaranteed,” said Lt. McMillin.
The event leads up to National Police week from May 11 through the 16.