The Trenton-Dade Optimist Club hosted the 16th annual Respect for Law Ceremony on Sep. 15 at Trenton United Methodist Church.
Optimist member Connie Webb was in charge of pulling the entire event together, which was drastically changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the public were not allowed at the event due to social distancing guidelines, but a live stream was broadcasted on the Dade County Facebook page.
The ceremony began with an opening statement from retired Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney “Buzz” Franklin.
“It’s important that we do this today,” Franklin said. “Particularly in this time and this day and age, it’s getting more difficult [to be a police officer]. We, fortunately, have a lot of people who are selfless and put their lives on the line every day. Thank you for what you do.”
Then, County Executive Ted Rumley and Trenton Mayor Alex Case conducted a reading of a joint proclamation designated for the event.
“The biggest percentage of people in Dade County support you,” Rumley said. “The government here is behind you 150 percent.”
“Y’all know we love you,” Case said. “Thank you Optimist Club for continuing to do this event.”
A memorial was then conducted for seven officers who died in the line of duty in 2019 and two officers who have died while on the job in Dade County.
Carolyn Lane was asked to sing “Amazing Grace” at the end of the memorial. A reading of names of the fallen by Trustee Georgia Fraternal Order of Police Carlton Stallings followed the singing, which saw Optimist Club members place roses on the names that were read.
Dade County High School Band Director Chris Chance then played “Taps”.
The 2019 Trenton-Dade Optimist Local, Zone and Area Oratorical Winner, Amelia Anderson, gave a short speech to honor both the fallen officers and all local police in attendance.
“Today, in Dade County, we remember those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice and those that have been disabled in the line of duty,” Anderson said.
Stallings then read the names of six officers nominated for Officer of the Year. Sergeant Brent Stevens, Lieutenant Hailey Smith, GBI Special Agent Daniel Nicholson, Game Warden Kyle Faulkner, K9 Officer Dylon Floyd and Trooper Garrett King were all nominated, with Stevens being named the Officer of the Year.
The first-ever “Hometown Heroes” award was then given out to companies that have helped local police departments make a difference in their communities.
Integer in Trenton, Food City in Trenton and the Lookout Valley Walmart were all given the award.