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Weirton remembers fallen law enforcement

MEMORIAL — Sgt. Mark DeAngelo and Sgt. Troy Bickers stand before a memorial dedicated to the memory of law enforcement officers who have served in Weirton. City officers and guests gathered in front of the Weirton Municipal Building Tuesday morning in observance of National Police Week. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Gathered in front of the Weirton Municipal Building Tuesday morning, representatives of the city’s law enforcement agency, city officials and other guests paid tribute to the service and sacrifice of police officers across the country.

Peace Officer Memorial Day, to be observed Saturday, was established in 1962 with a declaration from President John F. Kennedy. The week in which it falls is observed as National Police Week.

Pastor Brian Richardson of Weirton Nazarene Church offered a prayer, recalling the story of the prophet Elijah and his disciple Elisha who, upon Elijah’s ascent to Heaven, took up his mantle to continue his work, noting police officers pick up the mantle of those before them in order to watch over their communities.

“It’s a privilege to pray over you,” Richardson said.

According to the online Officer Down Memorial Page, there were 362 line of duty deaths of police officers in 2020. That includes Charleston Patrolman Cassie Marie Johnson, who was shot while responding to a parking complaint in December.

The Weirton Police Department has never recorded a line of duty death.

Ward 1 Councilman Tim Connell spoke on behalf of Mayor Harold Miller, presenting a proclamation recognizing National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day.

The service also served as a moment for the officers to recognize one of their own, as Assistant City Manager DeeAnn Pulliam presented a certificate of appreciation to Sgt. Randy Kernan who, while off duty on April 17, saved a resident who was suffering a heart attack.

As part of the service, Hancock County Magistrate Scott Hicks, who previously served as Weirton’s police chief, sang the national anthem, and city Parks Director Coty Shingle performed “Country Roads.”

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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