Officers honor fallen

Published 10:10 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sgt. John McCarley places a rose in a flower arrangement in honor of Suffolk Police Officer William Andrew “Drew” Henley, who died in the line of duty in 2005, during a memorial ceremony Tuesday in City Council chambers.

Sgt. John McCarley places a rose in a flower arrangement in honor of Suffolk Police Officer William Andrew “Drew” Henley, who died in the line of duty in 2005, during a memorial ceremony Tuesday in City Council chambers. Officer Sherry Fellers prepares to salute.

Suffolk law enforcement officers gathered to remember their fallen brothers and sisters from throughout the country at a Tuesday memorial ceremony to mark National Police Week.

The group in City Council chambers paid tribute to four officers from the Suffolk Police Department who died in the line of duty between 1908 and 2005.

They also remembered the 321 law enforcement officers from across America whose names were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., during a candlelight vigil Monday. The monument now includes nearly 20,000 names dating back to the first known death in 1791.

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Delegate S. Chris Jones, keynote speaker at Suffolk’s ceremony, shared his emotional reflections on the moment last May 19 when he realized his nephew, Suffolk Police Officer James Winslow, might end up on that wall.

Winslow was beaten and nearly killed after he pulled over a convicted felon driving a stolen vehicle on Nansemond Parkway that Saturday morning. Quick response by his fellow officers, rescue personnel, the Nightingale air ambulance and surgeons at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital saved his life.

Jones recalled arriving at the hospital that day and being met by a Virginia Beach police officer. He was one of many from throughout Hampton Roads who would drop by that day to support the family.

“That was my first glimpse of what I would call the police brotherhood, that I had never really experienced before,” Jones said. “There’s something about that thin blue line.”

Winslow continues recovering from his injuries and has returned to light duty with the department.

Jones shared two Bible verses he feels speak especially to police officers — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Mayor Linda T. Johnson also spoke at the ceremony to express her gratitude.

“I was told as a child it’s not so much the words as the way we say the words,” she said. “Thank you means so much when it comes from the heart.”

Roses were placed in a flower arrangement to memorialize the four Suffolk Police officers who have died in the line of duty.

Policeman George T. Smith died July 4, 1908, after being shot by a man he had arrested earlier in the day for being drunk in public.

Police Chief William E. Brinkley died Dec. 2, 1918, after attempting to apprehend a man wanted in another state. He had received a telegram notifying him the escaped convict would be arriving at the Suffolk train station with illegal liquor. The suspect opened fire immediately upon seeing Brinkley and another officer. He had been with the agency for 18 years.

Patrolman Joseph Pratt died after being shot twice in the abdomen on Oct. 19, 1935. He had been trying to serve a warrant on the shooter for failing to pay child support. Pratt — who was the other officer with Chief Brinkley in the train station incident — had been with the agency for 27 years.

Police Officer William Andrew “Drew” Henley suffered a fatal heart attack during a foot pursuit of a suspect on March 19, 2005. He and his partner were on patrol in the Webb Street area when they observed several suspicious men. One of them fled when the officers approached, and Henley gave chase. He collapsed immediately after taking the suspect into custody and died shortly after midnight on March 20. The man he had arrested was wanted in New Jersey on assault and battery charges.

Henley had been with the Suffolk Police Department for three years. He was survived by a wife and four children, and the street on which the police department headquarters now sits was renamed after him.