BOZEMAN – Following Tuesday’s Montana Law Enforcement Memorial Procession, hundreds gathered at The Commons in Bozeman for the Montana Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony.
Law enforcement, first responders, family members and community members from across the state made their way to Bozeman to continue the memorial celebration.
“We are a family,” said Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin. “The law enforcement family is just a bigger family, and that’s all of our communities, and there’s no better place than Montana for that.”
The ceremony featured several guest speakers, including Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, each taking the time to honor those who have served, those who still serve and those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
“Sometimes I think people forget that law enforcement sacrifices every day,” said Fox. “Of course, many jobs are like that, but not very many jobs are in a situation where when trouble starts, law enforcement runs to the trouble while the rest of us run away.”
The losses of Montana Highway Patrol Trooper David DeLaittre in 2010, and Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Mason Moore last May made Tuesday’s remembrance special.
“The events that we had out in Three Forks really hit close to home and really hit our community very hard, and our and our law enforcement organizations very hard,” said Bozeman Police Chief Steve Crawford. “We are honored to be able to be a part of this and pay tribute to the sacrifice of Deputy Moore and Trooper DeLaittre and their families.”
But Tuesday was also special for another reason; it would have been Deputy Mason Moore’s 43rd birthday. He was gunned down on the job almost one year ago, on May 16. Fox said that the best way to remember those we’ve lost is to continue to honor those who serve.
“Montanans should never forget we live in a special place,” Fox said. “When you look at the sunshine, the snow-capped mountains greening up for spring, there’s so much that we can enjoy here in our constitutional freedoms, none of that happens without public safety officials who make sure that we can enjoy those freedoms,’ he said. “So, that’s why we give thanks for law enforcement, first responders, firemen and others who answer the call to public service,” Fox added.
Montana has lost 129 law enforcement officers in its history, each of whom was remembered at Tuesday’s ceremony.
National Law Enforcement Memorial Day is observed on Tuesday, May 15.
Reporting by Kaitlin Corbett for MTN News