El Paso County deputy’s widow leads service at new fallen officers’ memorial
Author: Liz Forster, The Gazette - May 18, 2018 - Updated: May 18, 2018
Above Prospect Lake Friday morning, 32 blue balloons flittered from the hands of El Paso County law enforcement officers toward the mountains.
Each represented one of the 32 Pikes Peak region officers killed in the line of duty since 1896.
Though the balloons disappeared, the memory of the men and women would forever remain etched into the newly-erected Region Peace Officers’ Memorial.
This year’s 25th annual Pikes Peak Region Peace Officers’ Memorial service was particularly raw for the Sheriff’s Office, which lost Deputy Micah Flick during a shootout in February.
“As an agency, we’re dealing with our first line-of-duty death in 25 years,” said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby. “It’s hard not to get emotional.”
Before Deputy Flick, the last line-of-duty fatality experienced by the Sheriff’s Office was in April 1992, when Deputy Hugh Martin was shot in the chest during a no-knock raid on the home of a suspected drug dealer.
The most recent Pikes Peak region law enforcement officer to be killed was Garrett Swasey, a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Police Department officer. Swasey died in a gunman’s rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in November 2015.
To have a dedicated space to commemorate the officers – the first of its kind in the Pikes Peak region – is a somber yet proud moment for the Sheriff’s Office, Kirby said.
“Now, the Flick family, other families of fallen officers and law enforcement officers can call this place home,” she said, thanking those who helped raise the $1.6 million in community donations and build the memorial during the past 13 years.
Flick’s widow, Rachael, delivered the keynote speech during the ceremony, recounting the story of the heroism and sacrifice by Aslan, the lion in the “Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Like the statue of the lion on the brink of death at the memorial, and the honored officers, Aslan had the courage to die for those he sought to protect, she said.
“That heart beats in you,” she said to family members of fallen officers in the audience.
Rachael attended the unveiling of the memorial Wednesday. She returned later that night when a thin blue light was turned on, illuminating the memorial.
“It is especially striking here at night,” she said.
The service is followed by the 11th annual Valor Run at 9 a.m. Saturday and the Peace Officers’ Memorial Ball at The Marriott Hotel at 6 p.m. Saturday. Both events raise money for the construction costs for the memorial. Last year’s ball was attended by 400 guests, which the organizers hope to surpass by another 150 people.
Tickets for the ball are available at https://e.gesture.com/events/4Lm/.