The Peace Officers' Memorial service Friday morning held added significance for many who gathered in the sunshine at America the Beautiful Park near downtown Colorado Springs.
Pikes Peak region officers who have died on duty since 1895 were mourned at the event. But the pain of Colorado Springs police officer Matt Tyner's death in July 2012 remained fresh.
He's the first officer in the region to die in the line of duty since Colorado Springs officers Jared Jensen and Kenneth Jordan were slain in separate incidents in 2006.
Colorado Springs Chief Pete Carey said the service was 'especially hard ' because of Tyner's death.
Tyner died after his motorcycle collided with a vehicle on Austin Bluffs Parkway. He was one of five Colorado peace officers to die on the job in 2012, Carey said.
After the service, Officer Mike Singels said it's hard to say who was Tyner's best friend. 'Matt had a lot of friends. '
Singels did say that he wished his friend, colleague and former roommate was standing at the park Friday. Singels said Tyner's death on July 24 while performing a traffic stop was 'eye opening. '
'It was a revelation that it doesn't matter how good you are at this job, sometimes things are out of your control, ' Singels said.
The event's keynote speaker, Dr. George Hertner, the medical director of the emergency department at Memorial Hospital North told the crowd about the valuable role police officers and sheriff deputies play in making his job easier. He called them the first line of emergency medical services..
'They must be the first to the accident, ' Hertner said. 'They must start breathing and stop bleeding. '
The speaker also said law enforcement officials give a 'demonstration of unity, honor and brotherhood ' whenever one of their own is injured and hospitalized. Hertner said working at an injured officer's bedside brings out emotions that medical personnel 'usually cover up. '
After Hertner's speech, a wreath was laid in remembrance of fallen officers while the Police Pipes and Drums of the Pikes Peak Region played 'Amazing Grace. '
El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Kramer read a roll call of the 28 Pikes Peak region peace officers who have died on duty.
A single blue balloon was released as Kramer read each name. The first was William Shea of the Victor Marshall's Office who was gunned down in 1895.