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Meridian remembers fallen officers

By Staff
REMEMBERING – Lt. Al Brown and Officer Katherine Austin salute after placing a wreath in memory of fallen police officers during a ceremony Wednesday at the Doughboy Monument in Meridian. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
May 16, 2002
A small crowd gathered at the Doughboy Monument downtown at noon Wednesday to remember police officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
This week was proclaimed Police Officers Memorial Week nationally and similar proclamations were made by the city council and county supervisors to remember fallen police officers.
Bobbie Walters of Meridian was at the memorial service. She is the mother of Alma Walters, the last Meridian police officer to die in the line of duty. She was killed Dec. 28, 1985.
Officer Walters was just 35 years old when she was shot and killed while answering a domestic dispute call. She had served in the police department for about eight years.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie was a detective with the Meridian Police Department at the time of Walters' death.
During his comments at the service Wednesday, Sollie said when he joined the Meridian Police Department he never thought he would have to go to an officer's funeral. But Alma's death changed that. He said when he became sheriff, he never thought he would have to go to the funeral of a Mississippi sheriff, but he has been to three since 1996, all killed in the line of duty.
Nationally, 2001 was the deadliest year for police officers since 1974, according to Ken Storms, the city's chief administrative officer. There were 228 officers killed while performing their duties, including 70 that died on Sept. 11.
Meridian Police Chief Benny DuBose said he would like to see more of a turnout for the memorial service, which is held annually. President Kennedy first proclaimed May 15 as National Police Officers Memorial Day 40 years ago.
Martha Boswell was also at the memorial service. She is the mother of James Boswell, a Meridian native who served with the Houston, Texas, Police Department. He was killed during a traffic stop on Dec. 9, 1989.