TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Hundreds of people gathered at the Tucson Police Department headquarters Tuesday night to honor fallen officers.
The annual ceremony included a flyover, rifle salute, and a tribute video featuring family members of law enforcement agents.
Eight TPD officers have died in the line of duty:
- Officer William Elliott, July 3, 1892
- Officer William Katzenstein, July 26, 1902
- Officer Robert Cummins, September 7, 1936
- Officer Barry Headricks, October 28, 1974
- Officer James Smith, October 28, 1980
- Officer Jeffrey Ross, February 18, 1982
- Officer Patrick Hardesty, May 26, 2003
- Officer Erik Hite, June 2, 2008
Officer Hite was involved in the pursuit of a suspect who had shot a Pima County Sheriff's Deputy. The suspect shot multiple times at officers, and Hite was hit. His wife, Nohemy, attends the service every year.
"It's just special for me and my daughter, who's here tonight," Hite said. "Just to get together with them, just being present here, being present in the moment and thinking about them today."
The Erik Hite Foundation is a non-profit developed in his honor.
The keynote speaker was Angela Harrolle, the CEO of the 100 Club. The 100 Club supports police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers statewide. Harrolle found out the organization the hard way,when her husband Bruce died.
Bruce Harrolle was an Arizona DPS officer, paramedic and firefighter from Tucson. Bruce was assigned to a helicopter ranger position in Sedona, and was rescuing lost hikers in Sedona when he was struck by the aircraft's rotor blade.
Harrolle says participating in ceremonies like the one Tuesday are healing and therapeutic.
"It's incredible that they just reach out and wrap their arms around you as if it was yesterday," Harrolle said. "And the true meaning of family is exemplified in an event like this."
For those who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty, Harrolle wants them to know that there is hope.
"Even though that you're in the toughest days of your life, the most challenging times that have ever been presented to you, you need to know that they are a family," Harolle said. "This community of public safety will surround you and be there for you as long as needed."
Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos was in attendance, as well as Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and other city leaders.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 128 law enforcement officials died in the line of duty in 2015.