CORDELE, GA (WALB) - Law enforcement is a small community, so when an officer is lost it's not just his or her department that feels the pain. The grief transcends that "thin blue line."
Police Week will soon wrap up, but agencies continue honoring their fallen brothers and sisters, including in Cordele.
The Crisp County Sheriff's Office hosted its yearly Law Enforcement Memorial Service at Pinecrest Baptist Church Friday morning.
First responders and their family members gathered for the somber ceremony.
"We do it because we want to take that fight and continue to fight it," said Cordele Police Chief Rob Rodriguez who spoke at the service.
Up until 2016, it had been 25 years since a local officer had been killed in the line of duty.
For this reason, Friday's ceremony brought raw emotions.
"It's hard on a lot of people, with Daryl, because he was so liked and such a good person," said Crisp Co. Sheriff's Office Sgt. Al Thompson.
In November of 2016, Peach County Sheriff's Deputy Daryl Smallwood was shot and killed while responding to a call.
"Daryl was a fun-loving guy," said Sgt. Thompson. "Always there for anybody that needed him."
Sgt. Thompson worked with Deputy Smallwood at both the Dooly County and Crisp County Sheriff's Offices, before Smallwood moved to Peach County.
"It shows the passion that they have to protect the peace and dignity of the people of the state of Georgia," Sgt. Thompson said of those who give their lives in the line of duty.
Deputy Smallwood's family sat in the front row during the ceremony, watching as a Peach Co. deputy laid down a single rose in remembrance of Smallwood's selfless service.
"We want his family to understand that we still appreciate the service that he gave, not only to the community, but to us as friends and brothers," said Sgt. Thompson.
Six other officers killed in the line of duty since 1909 were honored Friday as well:
- Chief W.H. Forrest, Cordele Police Department, End of Watch February 16, 1909
- Sgt. C.H. Watson, Cordele Police Department, End of Watch October 18, 1970
- Sergeant W.R. Haralson, Cordele Police Department, End of Watch May 4, 1975
- Trooper J. Young, Georgia State Patrol, End of Watch May 4, 1975
- Trooper J.F. Bass, Jr., Georgia State Patrol, End of Watch February 15, 1950
- Trooper J.K. Stewart, Georgia State Patrol, End of Watch April 27, 1991
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