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MPD holds first officer memorial service since Sgt. Verdell Smith’s death last summer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Over 100 fallen officers were remembered on Friday at the Memphis Police Department memorial service. The officers served with different agencies across the area, from Memphis to DeSoto County.

It was the first officer memorial in Memphis since Sergeant Verdell Smith was run over and killed last year near Beale Street.

Police said a suspected gunman hit and killed Sgt. Verdell Smith last summer while taking other MPD officers on a chase.

Sgt. Smith was a U.S. Navy veteran and served with the Memphis Police Department for 18 years. His final act was trying to move people out of harm’s way.

“As a city, as a community, may we never forget what Officer Smith represented: a Memphian who wanted to help, who raised his hand to serve his fellow citizen and did so very bravely,” said Mayor Jim Strickland.

His name was one of the many read aloud on Friday as a reminder of the sacrifice they made.

“These men and women knew the potential dangers of their chosen profession, yet they knew at a moment’s notice their lives could be taken and the lives of their loved ones changed forever,” said Director Michael Rallings.

Some family members were in the crowd as living proof of that. Their faces showed these fallen heroes were more than just people who wore a badge. They were brothers, mothers, fathers, sons and friends who will never be forgotten.

Sgt. Smith was also recently recognized in Washington, D.C. for his service. His name was among the nearly 400 officer names engraved on the national police memorial this year.