Citizen Staff Writer
DAVID L. TEIBEL
About 350 people honored the 41 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in Pima County since 1878.
They gathered Thursday morning for the second annual Pima County Regional Law Enforcement Memorial Service at the Tucson Convention Center.
Representatives of all branches of law enforcement attended.
“A law enforcement officer is assaulted every day” in the United States, said former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.
A law officer is killed in the line of duty “nearly every other day,” said Carmona, who served as master of ceremonies for the memorial service.
Keynote speaker Terry Goddard, Arizona’s attorney general, said “today we are here to honor Pima County law enforcement officers who lost their lives” in the line of duty. They are everyday heroes.
“It is for the rest of us, as we do today, to honor those who have fallen,” Goddard said.
Newly selected Tucson police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said “we need to remember the families of the fallen so they will never walk alone.”
Goddard said of the 41 officers “their devotion to duty inspires us all.”
Wednesday evening, a memorial service was held on the front lawn of police headquarters for slain Tucson officers.
Both services noted the death of Tucson police Officer Erik Hite in June.
Hite was shot and killed on the East Side last year as he pursued a shooting suspect.
Hite was the eighth Tucson officer killed in the line of duty since 1892.
“Eric had lived according to his faith and according to his convictions,” Villaseñor said.
David “Nick” Delich, 26, was arrested in Hite’s killing and is facing 10 criminal charges, including first-degree murder.
Hite’s name is to be inscribed on the wall of the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. His family did not attend Thursday’s memorial.
Villaseñor said Hite’s widow, Nohemy Hite, was exhausted and emotionally drained after attending two other memorials this week for her husband. Erik Hite also is survived by his son, Roy David Hite, who is in the Air Force, and a baby daughter, Samantha Hite
Villaseñor said he and a contingent of officers will accompany Nohemy Hite to Washington next week for a ceremony in which Erik Hite’s inscribed name will be unveiled.
The cost of the trip will be covered by the Tucson Police Foundation, a nonprofit police support organization, Villaseñor said.