VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Police departments across the nation and in Hampton Roads are pausing to remember fallen officers, who died in the line of duty or after illness.

During Virginia Beach’s annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony, Governor Glenn Youngkin, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer, Police Chief Paul Neudigate and Sheriff Ken Stolle shared remarks.

“To the families and friends of those fallen heroes, thank you for joining us today,” Youngkin said.

Neudigate said nine VBPD officers have paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

“This year it means a little more, it hurts a little more,” Neudigate said.

Master Police Officer David Nieves died in February 2022, and his name is now on the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Memorial on 35th Street. His name was also added at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. 

“David Nieves a member of recruit class 21 end of watch February 1, 2022. Thank you to Monica. Thank you to his sons for sharing David with us and thank you to Matthew for following in your dad’s footsteps,” Neudigate said.

Virginia Beach PD Master Police Officer David Nieves

His wife Monica said she is grateful the city is honoring his legacy.

“It hits me every time I hear his name. Every time I see his name on the wall. It is both beautiful and sadness at the same time. It’s hard to explain how I feel right now, but once I start thinking about how he lived, how funny and happy he was, that will keep me going. I really appreciate the city for doing this. I was planning to go every year to D.C. but now I have it here. It’s 20 minutes from my house and it’s close to me, close to our memories,” she said.

MPO Nieves was a champion for the Latino community. His family says they will continue his call to build bridges in the community.

“He will never be forgotten for sure, its going to be hard to forget him.”

Governor Youngkin met his family while paying his respects to law enforcement. The governor grew up in Hampton Roads, and hopes to continue his Operation Bold Blue Line initiative to support law enforcement with raising pay, training and equipment.

“I want us to have the safest state in the nation,” Youngkin said.