Hundreds Remember Fallen Police Officers

59 officers have died in line of duty in Fort Worth's history

By Chris Van Horne
|  Wednesday, May 8, 2013  |  Updated 6:05 PM CDT
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Hundreds gathered for an emotional ceremony remembering Fort Worth police offices killed in the line of duty.

Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter

Hundreds gathered for an emotional ceremony remembering Fort Worth police offices killed in the line of duty.

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Hundreds paid their respects on Wednesday to Fort Worth officers killed in the line of duty.

On average, a peace officer dies every 57 hours while serving in the line of duty in the United States.

Fort Worth has lost 59 officers since the city's inception. Hundreds gathered at Trinity Park and the Fort Worth Police & Firefighters Memorial to remember and honor their sacrifice.

The annual memorial service is always an emotional affair for the friends and family who lost a loved one.

Wednesday was an opportunity for Karen Freeto, the widow of Dwayne Freeto, the last Fort Worth officer killed in the line of duty, to honor and celebrate all of the officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their city.

"On this day, we do not remember the horrible acts that took their life, we remember who they were, what they stood for and how they would want us to continue their legacy," she said.

This year's memorial service also took on added meaning with several officers recently and seriously injured while in the line of duty.

Officer Marty Stone, who shot in the upper right leg just two weeks ago, was in attendance.

Officer Johnny Bell, who was shot three times in a shootout in Haltom City earlier this year, spoke to the crowd. While Bell's body is worse for wear -- he continues to wear an eye patch over an injured right eye, his sense of humor is still well intact.

"I'll be brief, I can only see half of my speech," Bell joked.

Afterward and during his speech Bell said he appreciated all of the public's support for him, other injured officers, as well as the officer, and their families, killed in the line of duty.

"People have a tendency to forget, and we can't do that," Bell said. "And I just want to remind people too there are a lot of injured and maimed officers that are still out here, and it wouldn't have taken much for us to be on that wall. And I can speak for all of them; if we had to do it over again, we'd do it all over again for the people we try to protect -- that's just the way we feel."

"This is service; this is sacrifice," Chief Jeffrey Halstead said.

May 15th is national Peace Officers Memorial Day. Wednesday's service is part of a weeklong effort to remember those killed.

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