Fallen officers, retirees recognized at ceremony
Officer killed 40 years ago highlighted during event
From across Charles County and other neighboring counties, family members and well-wishers made their way to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) on Tuesday to remember its fallen heroes, retired service members and Pfc. Denis Riley, who was killed in the line of duty in 1977.
“It’s oftentimes we lose people we love that we remember to cherish the times and how important they’re to us individually,” said Sheriff Troy D. Berry (D). “We all are here to celebrate the contributions of those who are here with us physically and those who are here in spirit.”
While some were seated and others stood, Berry implored those in attendance to remember the contributions of those who died. He said everyone ought to remember their sacrifices and their hard work which helped make the sheriff’s office what it is today.
At this year’s 2017 memorial wall ceremony 11 people were honored for their work, commitment and dedication to the agency. These workers not only gave all they had to the agency but to the community in which they served.
“For those who retired, we say a job well done,” Berry said as he went on to thank the retirees for their years of service and
reminded them that the CCSO will always be there for them.
Retiree Cfc. Roger Fallin said, “Today means a lot, with the family now, I have a place to show them and a couple stones on the floor to let them know that I was a part of something big.”
Fallin urged new recruits to be strong and be stern, urging them to have lots of short term goals. With the increase in police brutality incidents and the lack of trust that civilians have towards the police, Fallin said, “There needs to be more one-on-one training, they need to develop better people skills, and officers should learn to talk to people and not at them.”
According to Berry, the retired and fallen police officers will never be forgotten and their sacrifices were not in vain because they are remembered daily. One of the many ways in which the fallen police offers and retirees are remembered is when one walks through the center of the main building, visitors walk into what is called the ‘ring of honor,’ where pictures are displayed with a brief summary of that service woman’s or man’s biography. The CCSO continues to add names to the memorial wall, both retirees and those fallen in the line of duty.
Berry acknowledges what is going on nationally as it relates to community and police relations, and said that at the sheriff’s office, they are more than just a law enforcement agency. They’re involved in Special Olympics and Christmas in April, among other community activities.
“We serve not just as law enforcement individuals, we serve where there’s a need in our community. We’re more than just a police department,” Berry said.
During the CCSO memorial wall ceremony, the family members of the fallen officer Riley placed a wreath near his name on the memorial wall. Riley was killed in an automobile crash at the intersection of Route 228 and U.S. Route 301 in Waldorf on Jan. 11, 1977. As he was waiting for a traffic light to change, a tractor trailer fuel tanker skidded to a stop and overturned on his patrol car, killing him instantly.
“This day is a happy moment remembering my cousin, I’m happy that he’s not forgotten, he was a great officer,” said Bonnie Hufty, Riley’s cousin.
Wreaths were laid on behalf of Riley and all the fallen police officers. The CCSO honored retirees Pfc. Byron Flynn, Cpl. Calvin Roberts, Cfc. Roger Fallin, Eric Halvorsen, Pfc. Eric Leukhardt, M/Cpl. Wendell Wathen, Susan Rice, M/Sgt. Tracy Williams, Cfc. Richard Allen, M/Cpl. Ronald Leu-
Family of fallen Pfc. Denis Riley along with Sheriff Troy Berry walk hand in hand as they return from laying a wreath near Riley’s name on the memorial wall. Riley was killed in the line of duty in 1977.
Retirees embrace each other while posing with Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry. Retirees were recognized for their years of service to the CCSO. From left, M/Cpl. Ronald Leukhardt, Cfc.Richard Allen, Berry, M/Sgt. Tracy Williams and Cfc. Roger Fallin.