Flags to be lowered at half-staff today for Peace Officers Memorial Day

CLAYTON — Rabun County will join other communities across the country during “Police Week” to salute the selfless work of law enforcement officers and acknowledge the debt we owe those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

On May 15, Peace Officers Memorial Day, the nation will pause to remember officers who fought for justice until their end of watch. Although Rabun County has been fortunate enough to not lose any of their own in recent years, the courage and sacrifice of other officers will not be forgotten.

City of Clayton Police Chief Andy Strait told WRBN/WGHC News that no immediate losses have hit home in his department, but he has experienced the great loss of losing friends who served as law enforcement in other agencies.

“I lost a dear friend of mine. We had been friends since the third grade and in the mid-to-late 90’s I lost him to a car accident while he was on duty,” Strait said. “I actually had to help remove him from the vehicle crash and it was one of the most devastating things I have ever had to go through.”

“I’ve lost a few friends that were police officers to actions that were the very things they were trying to prevent while on duty,” he added. “Such as a friend of mine got killed while on duty by a drunk driver.”

Strait said Peace Officer Memorial Day is a reflection to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“It makes you stop and reflect that there are still a lot of heroes out there in law enforcement and public safety as a whole and we thank them, and their families, for their sacrifice. It means a lot to me that these law enforcement officers put their lives on the line each day they leave their families to try to make their communities safer,” Strait said. “They don’t know what they are going to face when they stop a car. What they think might be a simple traffic stop is never the same, it’s never typical. It could be the worst scenario possible in a matter of moments as we have seen this year already in our own department.”

Rabun County Sheriff Chad Nichols said he would like to encourage people to pay their respects on this significant day for those officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

“I would just like to remember those officers who have fallen in the line of duty, law enforcement officers and their families,” Nichols said. “From what I know we have never had a line of duty death, but I would like to encourage people to pay their respects to the officers who have fallen in Georgia and all around the country.”