October 20, 2013

Take time to honor law enforcement

It should have been routine, simple. But things are rarely routine in law enforcement.

U.S. Marshal Robert Forsyth had to deliver some court papers in a civil case in Augusta. For reasons that still aren’t clear more than 200 years later, the men he was serving the papers on shot and killed him.

Forsyth’s death in 1794 was the first on-duty death of a law enforcement officer in Georgia history, and according to the website of the U.S. Marshals Service, Forsyth was the first federal marshal killed on duty.

If you go to Chatsworth City Park today for the Black Bear Festival, you’ll find Forsyth is the first name on the Georgia Law Enforcement Moving Memorial, which honors law enforcement officers who died on duty in Georgia. It is followed by the names of more than 600 other men and women, including Chatsworth Police Office Jonathan “Cole” Martin who died in an accident on duty 10 years ago and Murray County Sheriff Benjamin Keith, who was shot and killed in 1907 while apprehending a man wanted for murder.

Everyone on that list made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities and their state. They deserve to be remembered, and their families deserve to know that Georgia’s citizens appreciate their legacies.

The wall is sponsored by the Blue Knight Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club Georgia Chapter 7 and the Georgia Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, and they deserve our thanks for allowing us to honor these fallen officers.

The Black Bear Festival is a time for family and friends and fun. But if you go, please take some time out from your festivities to go by the memorial and pay respects to the officers who gave their lives protecting this state.

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