The Montana Department of Justice host Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony

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Posted at 5:48 PM, May 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-15 19:48:28-04

HELENA — The Montana Department of Justice hosted a Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony at the State Capitol Rotunda, where the event honored Montana law enforcement officers for their service.

"They make the brave decision to wear the badge and put on the uniform every day," said Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

Montana law enforcement officers, friends, family, and members of the community gathered in the state capital rotunda for Peace Officers Memorial Day.

The ceremony began with the presentation of the colors by the Montana highway patrol honor guard, as well as some words shared by Knudsen.

"There's something very meaningful about doing these events here and seeing this many law enforcement professionals past and present here, remembering their fallen brothers and sisters," said Knudsen.

The ceremony continued with a wreath laying, as well as a reading of all the Montana fallen officers.

Denny DeLaittre's son, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper David DeLaittre, was fatally shot in the line of duty in 2010. He shared a few words on what this day means to him and acknowledged all the law enforcement officers who gave their lives in service to the community, including the first recognized line of duty death in Montana, Missoula Undersheriff James Thompson, who died of heat stroke while pursuing a man who had escaped arrest back in 1878.

"Undersheriff Thompson was dedicated to his job and it cost him his life. The Memorial Park will not let him or any of the 146 officers that have died in the line of duty after him be forgotten," said DeLaittre.

Attorney General Knudsen also shared with me the importance of this day to him, and the rest of the Montana Department of Justice.

"To me and to the entire Department of Justice, it's really important that we do events like this to remember all of our officers, because we do have 146 officers in the state who have fallen in the line of duty, and I think we owe them the obligation to honor them and to keep their memory alive."

May 15th was proclaimed as Peace Officers Memorial Day back in 1962, by President John F. Kennedy.