AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - To honor the lives of fallen officers, the Americus Police Department held its first Peace Officer Memorial Program on Tuesday.
Tuesday's program was for honoring the lives of Americus officers who died in the line of duty.
The mother of one fallen officer said she admires how the community has supported her.
"I wish that I would've been the last, but I'm not, and nor will I ever be," said Sharron Johnson, a sergeant in Sumter County.
Johnson stood with her fellow officers as they honored the life of her son, the most recent fallen officer.
"I could look at this world as just this ugly place because it was ugly evil that took my boy, Jody and Nick," said Johnson.
Johnson has been in law enforcement for 20 years. When she got the call two years ago that her son Jody Carl Smith had been killed, she found herself on the other side of the badge.
"But I turned to God. I had to turn to Him real quick because if I hadn't, I would surely, probably wound up just like them with lots of hate in my heart," explained Johnson.
Johnson said people didn't expect her to be able to continue after her son's death.
"When it got time, and I got approached, 'Are you gonna get back in it?' I said, 'Yes, I'm gonna get back in it.' I want to get back in the fight," Johnson said. She said she knows this was the right decision. "I just thank God that He gave me the courage and the strength to put the uniform back on and to keep moving."
Johnson isn't moving alone. The officer memorial gave her hope and she said she is inspired by her community.
"The support has been amazing from the very beginning. The community is keeping them alive, and keeping the memory to assure us that they're not going to be forgotten," explained Johnson.
Below is a list of all of the fallen officers in the Americus Police Department:
- Officer William R. Morris (March 12, 1907)
- Chief William Cyrus Barrow (June 27, 1913)
- Lt. Homer Allen Lee (February 20, 1923)
- Officer Mary Anne Barker (May 9, 1983)
- Officer Nicholas Ryan Smarr (December 7, 2016)
- Officer Jody Carl Smith (December 7, 2016)
- Sheriff John Kimmey (December 11, 1889)
The Mayor signed a joint proclamation at the memorial, declaring May 15 as Peace Officer Memorial Day.
The department plans to make the program an annual event.