Never forgotten: Memorial service held for Newport News officers killed in the line of duty

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — On Wednesday morning, the Newport News Police Department held a memorial service at Calvary Chapel off Warwick Boulevard to remember fellow officers killed in the line of duty.

Members of the police force and the community were invited to attend.

“This job is extremely, extremely rewarding. But it also has a cost,” said Police Chief Steve Drew.

The ceremony opened with the honor guard presentation. Pastor Tony Clark of Calvary Chapel addressed the crowd.

“Those who are up here right now, these pictures you’re seeing, these are your comrades,” said Clark as he stood among pictures of the department’s fallen officers. “Many of you have personal stories about those who gave their lives in the line of duty.”

Next, Drew took the podium.

“The people that lay down their lives for others, there’s no greater calling,” said Drew.

During the ceremony, they showed a clip of the body camera footage from officers who ran to the scene at Heritage High School in the aftermath of the shooting, which happened Sept. 20. Two 17-year-old students were injured. A 15-year-old boy was charged in connection with the shooting.

“To get out of that car and run into that building as everyone is running the opposite direction, that’s why we do this job,” he said.

Drew pointed out it was the routine, everyday type of calls that turned deadly for those 12 officers memorialized during Wednesday’s ceremony.

Roll Call of Heroes

Robert H. Smith – EOW: June 11, 1919

Robert H. DeKorte- EOW: September 23 1921

Weldon O. Bass -EOW: September 25 1933

Claude T. Parks – EOW: September 10, 1943

Charles N. Doughty – EOW: August 11, 1946

Courtney W. Cooke – EOW: June 24, 1961

Clarence E. Small – EOW: June 24, 1961

Wallace E. Nesbitt, Sr. – EOW: January 8, 1970

Dennis J. Roberts – EOW: March 20, 1981

Steven R. Rutherford – EOW: January 12, 1994

Larry D. Bland – EOW: May 13, 1994

Katherine Mary Thyne – EOW: January 23, 2020

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