Richmond remembers her husband in a solemn National Police Week ceremony

Posted at 9:43 PM, May 18, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Police Department marked National Police Week on Thursday by honoring officers who died in the line of duty.

Dozens of people, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, the department’s command staff, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin, VCU Police Chief John Venuti, State Police Superintendent Colonel Gary Settle and Special Agent in Charge Stanley Meador of the FBI Richmond Field Office, attended a ceremony held at the Police Training Academy.

“To the families of the fallen, we thank you for the great sacrifice that you all have made and for the burden that each of you must carry,” acting Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said to loved ones in the auditorium.

A solemn bell rang after officers named each of the 38 Richmond Police officers killed in the department’s 215-year history.

“These memorials are very important,” Anne Wendel, widow of Officer Doug Wendel who was killed in July 2003, said.

“It has been 20 years, which is just incredible to me,” Wendel said. “The families are never going to get over it. It's really important for my children because they were 11, nine, and four (at the time). Anytime anyone can say to them that they worked with Doug, or they knew him, or tell a story, they just absolutely love that.”

In his address, Edwards honored the 42 officers in 21 states who have died in the line of duty across the country so far this year.

He also recognized the sacrifices of Virginia State Trooper Chad Dermyer and VSP Special Agent Michael Walter who were murdered in Richmond in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

“They might not have worn our uniform, but they share our goal of public safety for our city,” said Edwards.

Mayor Stoney read a proclamation declaring May 18, 2023, as Police Memorial Day in Richmond.

Further, he expressed gratitude and support for public safety officers, saying he will continue to use his platform to advocate for the courageous officers of the Richmond Police Department.

“Last year, Richmond Police Officers encountered gunfire while in their vehicles on two separate occasions,” Stoney said. “This is exactly why we deemed it critically important to retrofit our patrol vehicles with added protection from open fire. I'm a firm believer that if we expect our officers to keep us safe, we must keep them safe.”

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