An annual memorial ceremony honored the nearly 800 Ohio peace officers who have died in the line of duty since 1823, including four last year.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across Ohio gathered Thursday to honor the memory of those killed in the line of duty. Officers stood at attention as a draped flag unfolded for each of four Ohio peace officers killed in the line of duty last year, including Westerville Police Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli.
Former Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer now serves as the superintendent of the Ohio Bureau of Investigation, but he stood quietly at the back of the ceremony where he wore both officers’ badge numbers.
“It’a proper ending to a hero’s life,’ Morbitzer said.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the cost of public safety is not measured in dollars and cents, but rather courage and sacrifice.
“Public safety doesn’t happen by accident, it depends on the vigilance, actions and courage of real people who wear a badge,” Yost said.
He told 10TV on his way to the ceremony, as he thought about what he would say to the fallen officers’ families, he was moved to tears.
“I wept. It’s a very moving thing. Today, the office made me feel very small,” Yost said.
The threat of rain brought the ceremony indoors, where bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” as Ohio honored the memory of Joering and Morelli. The officers were shot and killed in February of 2018 as they responded to a 911 hang up call.
Chief Morbitzer said both were top-notch police officers, but more importantly, they were good men.
“And I think in today’s world, that’s what people want. They want great cops who are great people in their heart and both of those guys fulfilled that,” Morbitzer said.