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‘This sacred ground’: Southern Nevada’s fallen officers honored at park— PHOTOS

When one of three police helicopters flying in formation Thursday over Police Memorial Park turned away from the others, it held a special significance for Joyce Terry, the mother of fallen Metropolitan Police Department detective Justin Terry.

“That really touched me in the flyover,” said Joyce Terry, 72, following a memorial ceremony celebrating the lives of law enforcement officers who died in Southern Nevada going back to 1866.

“It’s just for those of us who’ve lost a loved one. That’s really special because it’s just so symbolic of him leaving our lives here,” she said. “But he’s still with us, you know, just in a different way.”

Joyce Terry, standing beside Justin Terry’s father, Hal, 75, and his twin brother, Joshua, 46, was moved to tears by the Southern Nevada Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony during which Justin’s name was read aloud along with those of the 143 other officers who died in the line of duty in Southern Nevada.

Justin Terry, 45, a detective with the homicide sex crimes bureau, sexual assault and abuse section who joined Metro in 2001, died in a freak accident on June 10, 2022. An excavator towed by a semitrailer struck a large steel beam from a state construction project on U.S. Highway 95, and the beam tumbled onto Justin Terry’s moving police car, killing him at the scene.

About 300 people attended Thursday night’s memorial service, including family members of the fallen and dozens of uniformed officers from Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Nevada State Police and other law enforcement agencies.

Local officials in attendance included Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Undersheriff Andrew Walsh and Ward 4 Councilwoman Francis Allen-Palenske.

“Each of you is so blessed by your connection to any one of these selfless individuals,” Goodman told the crowd, “who have given each of us the beauty of life and trying to carry on to do something positive with what we do every day, dedicated to each other to make this world that we live in, and in particular Southern Nevada and Nevada, a joyous beautiful place.”

“I look at you and I see pain,” the mayor said, while reminding the crowd members that “you carry these wonderful individuals in your hearts and in your minds forever.”

Goodman went on: “It just breaks my heart that we can’t touch them concretely and bow to them and thank them for their glorious, selfless sacrifice.”

The most recent fallen officers include Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Abbate and trooper Alberto Felix who were struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Nov. 30, 2023, while assisting another motorist on northbound Interstate 15 near D Street.

Walsh reminded those gathered of the importance of paying respects to fallen law enforcement officers each May.

“Every year, during the month of May, we return to this beautiful location, this sacred ground that we’re so fortunate to have, ” he said. “We come to honor, to remember those that we have lost, to show our love and support for the families, the loved ones they have all left behind.”

Police Memorial Park was opened in 2001 at Kylemore Street near Cheyenne Avenue by city of Las Vegas and Metro employees “to honor members of the Southern Nevada law enforcement community who have passed away,” according to the police department website.

Family and friends of the fallen are able to purchase bricks with their loved one’s name to be placed at the park’s memorial wall, according to the website.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on X.

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