HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — The Henrico County Police Department held its annual memorial Friday ahead of National Police Week, honoring the ten county officers who died in the line of duty -- with the service carrying added weight as the most recent death happened less than two months ago.
"This year was much more difficult for myself and members of the division in losing one of our own just about 45 days ago with Trey Sutton's untimely departure," said Henrico Police Chief Eric English, referring to Officer Trey Sutton who died after the police cruiser he was driving was involved in a three-vehicle crash. "It had been over 19 years since the division had experienced the loss of one of our members. We are still trying to recover and hopefully with time, the pain will dwindle."
Sutton had only graduated from the police academy in February. His training officer, Greg Petrohovich, and a man they were transporting were injured in the crash. Petrohovich's father was in attendance at the service.
"A young life filled with passion for his calling. A limitless potential for his future. And a heart for helping others," said Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas of Sutton. "Trey's sacrifice has reconnected us with the painful truth that law enforcement is a path that willingly surrenders the opportunity of a tomorrow to serve today."
Along with the other nine officers who have passed, a wreath with Sutton's photo and the year of his end of watch stood at the front of the church where Friday's service was held. The service is usually held at the memorial statue plaza, but was moved to the Mount Vernon Baptist Church because of inclement weather.
There was also a wreath for Virginia State Police Trooper Michael Todd Blanton who died in the county in 2003.
Family members for several of the fallen officers were present at the service, including for Sutton. His fiancé and younger brother placed a carnation on the memorial wreath in his memory.
Below are the other nine Henrico police officers killed in the line duty:
- Officer Andre Gerard Booker - End of Watch: January 12, 2003;
- Officer William Herman Edwards, III - End of Watch: February 2, 1998;
- Officer John Patrick Harris - End of Watch: August 19, 1994;
- Patrolman Donald A. Stillman - End of Watch: November 8, 1984;
- Patrolman Barry Wayne Maham - End of Watch: August 8, 1978;
- Patrolman Jerry Edwin Trimmer - End of Watch: August 15, 1966;
- Patrolman Welford Early Green - End of Watch: December 22, 1948;
- Patrolman Lewis Ray Beddow - September 8, 1946;
- Police Officer John H. Yarbrough - July 6, 1895.
Following the ceremony, English spoke about how the department has been doing since Sutton's death.
"You try to get the officers to continue to do the job they've always done, but it is still very difficult to go out and knowing what of your members had, you know, paid the ultimate sacrifice," said English. "Division members are recovering. You know, it's a slow process. People are just trying to stay busy, trying to do other things, make sure to keep their minds of the task at hand and that's to provide safety for our residents of Henrico County."
Henrico County Police said the investigation into the crash that killed Sutton is ongoing and they are working in coordination with the Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
English said the man who was being transported remains on life support, while Petrohovich remains in hospital but is "progressing well."
"Best he can considering the circumstances…He's in the healing process, but, again it's a very long process for him. They've been able to communicate with him, so you're starting to see progress in terms of his recovery," said English. "There's going to be particular time he's going to move to a type of recovery facility. Because, right now, he's really on the mend."