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Scotts Bluff County honors fallen law enforcement officers

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (KNEP) - Community members joined Scotts Bluff County law enforcement for a memorial ceremony Wednesday honoring local officers who died in the line of duty.

During National Police Week every year, the Scottsbluff Police Department hosts a ceremony memorializing fallen officers.

This year, the community paid tribute to Corrections Officer Amanda Beth Baker, who was killed during her shift at the Scotts Bluff County Detention Center in 2014, and Nebraska State Trooper Jerry Smith who died on duty in 2019.

In addition to remembering the fallen, Scottsbluff Police Chief Kevin Spencer says the event is also about recognizing those who seek to do good in their communities every day.

“It’s also important to express our appreciation for the work that’s being done day in and day out. So, this is a very special day for us, to say the least,” Chief Spencer said. “The job [officers are] doing is often thankless, and it’s difficult. They’re seeing people at their worst sometimes, and the majority of them do it with great profession and they should be respected and honored.”

The Scottsbluff High School Junior ROTC opened Wednesday’s event, which also featured remarks from Sheriff Mark Overman, Nebraska State Patrol Captain Kurt Von Minden, and keynote speaker serving the Scottsbluff Civil Service Commission, Dr. Tom Perkins.

Scottsbluff Mayor Jeanne McKerrigan also expressed her gratitude for the community’s law enforcement and declared May 13th Police Officers’ Memorial Day in the City of Scottsbluff.

“I think it’s important that we honor our law enforcement,” Mayor McKerrigan said. “I think, many times when our citizens of the community come in contact with [police], it’s not always under the best circumstances. [Police] are out there to help and protect and serve us, and I think we need to take a moment to sit down and thank them for all they do.”