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Honoring the fallen: Ceremony honors police officers killed in line of duty

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WATERLOO - A recently retired Waterloo police chief said courage, judgment, integrity and dedication were qualities instilled in the law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

"Each community demands men and women of honor to be our police officers," Tom Jennings said during the peace officers' memorial service at Hudson High School on Wednesday.

Relocated from the city park because of rain, the event was co-hosted by Hudson and La Porte City police departments to honor the 11 area peace officers who died on the job over the years.

Personal merit and empirical character, along with promoting and maintaining the public's trust, are as important today as years ago, he said.

"The effectiveness of law enforcement remains directly influenced and determined by public cooperation and support," Jennings said. "That credibility, although hard-earned, is fragile and is easily eroded by ... isolated incidents of police misconduct."

Jennings, who ended his more than 35-year career in January, said the profession demands the highest moral and ethical standards.

"In my opinion and experience, Black Hawk County law enforcement officers are well-prepared for any challenge, and without a doubt, you serve your communities well," he said.

The ceremony included a traditional 21-gun salute while students from Hudson High School sounded taps on bugles. Bagpiper Joel Harris played "Amazing Grace," and the school's band performed "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Dave Hoing of Waterloo has attended all but one of the annual services since his brother, Michael Hoing, who along with officer Wayne Rice was gunned down in 1981 after responding to a noise complaint. Hoing was a patrolman with Waterloo police.

"He loved it. He'd wanted to be a police officer his whole life," Dave Hoing said. "It's a tough job they do, and we need to show our appreciation for them."

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, fewer officers were killed in the line of duty in 2009 than a year earlier.

In 2009, 95 officers died on the job nationwide. Of those, 47 died as the result of accidents, and 48 were killed feloniously, according to the FBI numbers.

In 2008, 108 officers died - 67 by accident and 41 as the result of a crime.

Since 1869, 156 Iowa officers have perished on duty. No officers from Iowa died in the line of duty in 2009, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. The most recent was in 2007 in Des Moines.

State officials will honor Iowa police officers killed in the line of duty in a formal ceremony Friday in Des Moines.


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