THREE FORKS – Next week the country will celebrate National Police Week.
Here in Montana the event got an early start as law officers from across the Treasure State gathered in Three Forks Tuesday to honor brothers and sisters lost in the line of duty.
Two officers in particular were remembered.
While a group of Montana law officers looked on, a brief ceremony was held at the Wheat Montana parking lot.
Sheriff Wynn Meehan presented Mason Moore’s widow Jodi and her three children the Broadwater Sheriff’s Office Medal of Valor and Purple heart for his actions on May 16, 2017 when he was killed during a road-side shooting on Highway 287, south of Interstate 90.
The Sheriff was unable to hold back his emotions.
“So today is Mason’s birthday,” said Meehan as he paused to hold back tears. “And we wish him well.”
As honor guards stood vigil both at the site where Deputy Moore was killed almost a year ago and at the MHP Trooper David DeLaittre Memorial just across the Jefferson River, more than 50 police, sheriffs and fire engines passed by.
Trooper DeLaittre was killed during a traffic stop on December 1st, 2010.
“Nobody wants to lose a brother or a sister in the line of duty,” says MHP Sgt. Pat McLaughlin, “and this is our way of paying tribute to them.”
Trooper DeLaittre was 23 years old when he was killed.
“I will never forget the loss of my son, out working law enforcement,” said Trooper DeLaittre’s father Dennis.
“I feel for the Moore family as well. And the officers that had to deal with this situation.”
Today’s ceremony was about remembrance, respect and appreciation.
“This is a job that…a career that is getting harder and harder to find people who are willing to do it,” said Sheriff Meehan. “And chances of getting home in one piece at the end of a career is getting less and less likely.”
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says he believes every day is law enforcement memorial day.
“Supporting all of these officers that go out and risk everything every day to keep us safe.”
The procession continued through Three Forks and finished in Bozeman for a ceremony held at the Valley Commons.
Deputy Moore and other law officers involved in the pursuit and apprehension of Moore’s alleged killers will be honored next week in Washington DC as part of National Police Week.