Remembering the fallen during police week


This week is National Police Week and thousands of law enforcement officers have come to Alexandria from around the country to remember those who have died in the line of duty.

As hosts, members of the Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Sheriffs Office have been stationed at the Hilton Mark Center to drive families to different events and to make certain that they enjoy their time in the city.  We are very glad to help out and to let the families know that their loved ones have not been forgotten, said Sheriff Dana Lawhorne. National Police Week is a time when we can pay tribute to those who have chosen a career that puts their lives in danger every day.

Locally, law enforcement officers paid tribute to Alexandrias own fallen heroes on Monday morning by placing a wreath at the Alexandria Police Memorial. The simple granite memorial has a bronze plaque with the names of all of those who have died protecting Alexandrians. It was erected during National Police Week in1990, one year after Corporal Charles Hill was killed in a shootout at Hopkins Court. The memorial is located at Waterfront Park.

Steve Mason, Special Assistant to City Manager Jim Hartmann, was one of the hostage negotiators at Hopkins Court the night Hill was killed. We had the suspect talking and we had gotten him to release a number of hostages throughout the evening, Mason said. We were giving him some of the things he asked for and he was releasing hostages.

Even near the end, when the suspect emerged with the one remaining hostage, police thought the situation was salvageable. That was not the case. The suspect was killed, as was Hill. His partner, Andy Hilhowsky, later took his own life as a result of the events of that night. None of the hostages was harmed.

A lot of things have happened since that night and I have forgotten a lot of them, Mason said. March 22, 1989, though, is as clear to me as though it happened yesterday. Seeing Charlies name on that memorial on Monday brought it all back and made me realize again just how important such remembrances are.