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CCPD remembers the fallen

By CHUCK BALLARO - | May 18, 2022

Cape Coral Police Chief Anthony Sizemore speaks during the Police Officer Memorial Day ceremony at the Cape Coral Police Department this morning.

In the courtyard at the Cape Coral Police Department Building, there is a statue of a police officer holding a boy’s hand, likely a son.

Behind it, there’s a memorial that reads “For all who have faithfully served, some at the cost of your lives, you will not be forgotten, for serving, sacrificing and willing to put yourself on the line, every day, so shall you be remembered.”

There are no names on the memorial, and everyone in the city hopes it stays that way.

As part of National Police Week, the CCPD held a memorial service Wednesday for those who have given their lives in service of their community.

Police Chief Anthony Sizemore and Mayor John Gunter and spoke during the brief ceremony about how police officers say goodbye to their families in the morning, with no guarantee they will return home at night.

“They put the uniform on, drive to work and have a desire to return home after their shift. Unfortunately, some days, that doesn’t happen,” Gunter said. “We have to thank them and honor them for the service they gave their community.”

Gunter added that we need to remember the families who also sacrifice when that parent can’t make it to their son’s sporting event to serve the community, as well as those who lost a loved one while on duty.

“I ask that you say a prayer for those families who have to deal with that loss every day. It’s unimaginable to me that there are sons and daughters who don’t have that father or mother. When you walk into that convenience store and see that officer standing there, say thank you.”

Police Week and Police Officers Memorial Day was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1962 to recognize the hard work and, in some cases, their ultimate sacrifice, so that the public may have internal freedoms from fear and violence.

Sizemore lamented the state of affairs these days, where fear and violence has become more prevalent on the streets.

“From 2021 to now, police officers have been on the front lines during a pandemic and a rise in violence on out streets. In that time 722 officers have lost their lives,” Sizemore said. “Hundreds from COVID, because there is no remote work for police officers. Another 155 from acts of violence and 81 from gunfire.”

Cape Coral has been very lucky, as throughout its history, even though there have been a few close calls, it has never had a police officer killed in the line of duty.

Many aren’t so lucky. Khristin Bolinger, who lives in Georgia and came to the city to visit family, had a brother, Justin Wayne McGrory, who was killed in the line of duty in 2010 as a member of the California Highway Patrol while on a DUI traffic stop. He was struck by another drunk driver.

“Those people went out there every day to protect everybody and keep their lives safe on the road. He made sure you got home safe every day,” Bolinger said, before looking at the memorial and seeing no names on it.

“It’s probably the oddest thing to me because I’ve never seen it. But that’s the most beautiful thing to see, as well.”