Representatives from police and fire departments across St. Louis County gathered in Clayton on Friday to honor colleagues who had been killed in the line of duty.
"With each first responder we lose, we face a new tragedy," said Dean Bryant, the special agent in charge of the St. Louis office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Perhaps some forget the courage it takes to walk the beat, keep the watch and run toward danger when everyone else is running away, making it possible for our citizens to live without fear. For this, I thank you."
The names of two Chesterfield police officers who died within a month of each other last year were read for the first time on Friday. Detective Christopher Simpson died Feb. 12, 2013, after suffering a medical emergency while working out at the department’s fitness center. Officer Joseph Smith died about a month later, shortly after finishing his shift.
It was the 37th year for the county's ceremony. But it was Police Chief Jon Belmar's first in his new role.
"Over 20 years ago I did this as a police officer presenting the colors and the rifle salute," he said. "It makes me feel proud that I represent the ladies and gentleman that work on the St. Louis County Police department. We have the opportunity to honor those officers who have fallen before us and reach out to their families and tell them that we’re still there for them."
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