Drive To Remember Rolls Across America

Thursday, May 8th 2008, 10:24 pm
By: News On 6

National Police Week begins Sunday and kicks off a number of events to honor officers killed in the line of duty.  One event is the Drive to Remember, inspired by the daughter of a fallen Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper.  The News On 6's crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports Trooper Rocky Eales was murdered while trying to serve an arrest warrant.

His daughter wrote a letter to him after his death and put it by his picture at the National Memorial.  That letter inspired the event and she now rides on the back of a specially designed Hummer that carries the names of officers who've given the ultimate sacrifice.

Allison and Kelli Eales put their signatures on it, during the group's Thursday evening stop in Tulsa.    They hope the drive opens people's eyes.

"For people to realize that law enforcement give more than just tickets.  Officers, families give so much whether going to work and the holidays and activities they miss.  And, if they do get killed on duty, people don't realize the ripple effect that goes on," said widow Kelli Eales.

The drive to remember is a tour from Vancouver, Canada south to Los Angeles, then east to Washington, DC, to raise awareness of all the officers killed in the line of duty.  They drive 4,000 miles in 11 days.

"Your emotions are everywhere, the grief over losing a fellow brother or sister officer and yet, the pride of seeing people lined up on the road, saluting or their hand over their heart, it's overwhelming as a police officer," said Tulsa Police Officer Steve Dickson.

The rolling memorial hopes to be a visible reminder of all the officers who have been willing to lay down their lives in an effort to keep us all safe.

In all, 181 officers were killed in the line of duty last year.  So far, 40 have died this year.  Two of them were from Oklahoma.  Richard Bell was with the Haileyville Police Department and Robert Blassigame was a city marshal in Wister, Oklahoma.           

Their names will be added to the 18, 274 on the National Memorial in Washington, DC.