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Honoring fallen law enforcement on Peace Officers Memorial Day: ‘Father, I pray you’re with every officer'

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Posted at 11:45 AM, May 15, 2023

PETERSRBURG Va. — The City of Petersburg honored the six Petersburg Police Officers who have been killed in the line of duty since 1889.

They were remembered during the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service held on the steps of the Petersburg Police headquarters on Monday.

Monday is also the nationwide Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Petersburg Police Chaplain Rev. Scott Utter led the ceremony with a prayer for every officer who was killed in the city and across the country.

He also spoke to the officers who are currently on the streets.

“I pray You give them a heart of courage, of love, of sacrifice, of duty,” he said. “Father, I pray for all of those who are still active today and their families.”

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Bob Mosier, the keynote speaker, shared the impact officers can have on our daily lives.

“Public safety is the measure upon which prosperity can be built. Truth is, people can’t produce prosperity if they don't feel safe,” Mosier said.

He addressed the concerted effort by Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration to work with the city and help address crime.

“That’s why rejuvenating a city like Petersburg begins with public safety," Mosier said. "Public safety exists only as a consequence of the brave men and women of law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect the most innocent and preserve law and order.”

Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian read the last roll call for the six men killed in the line of duty in Petersburg since 1889.

Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian
Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian on Monday, May 15, 2023.

The honor guard then placed a rose at the memorial for the fallen heroes, a symbol in memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their community.

The ceremony honored:

  • Lt. George Crichton
  • Officer Robert E. Beasley
  • Det. J. Peyton Stewart
  • Officer Robert B. Hatchell
  • Officer William Swafford
  • Officer Eugene Hollins, Sr.

The city’s most recent death of an officer in the line of duty occurred in 1967.

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