Marion County fallen sheriff’s deputy honored virtually during National Police Week

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Tragedy struck the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in December when Corporal Michael Latu was killed in a single vehicle crash responding to a call for service.

Corporal Michael Latu's name is memorialized in Washington D.C. The member of the Marion County Sheriff's Office lost his life in the line of duty last year. (Source: Gray DC)

“I didn’t want to believe that something like that could happen, especially to a guy like him.” said Latu’s colleague Sgt. Michael Haberstich.

Latu began his career as a dispatch officer before joining the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Haberstich describes Latu as a trustworthy man; a friend, you could always depend on.

“Someone like that is someone you want in your corner,” he said.

Now, Latu is being honored nationally. His name has been carved in stone at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C.

Typically, thousands from across the country would be visiting the memorial this week as part of National Police Week, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, all public events have been canceled.

While you might not be able to physically visit the memorial this year, you can take a virtual tour. You can see all of the 22,000 names of fallen officers from your phone or computer screen.

“It’s not lost on me,” said Fraternal Order of Police National President Patrick Yoes. “The importance of what we do, to the families of the fallen; the honor that these officers deserve.”

Organizers are also honoring the fallen officers virtually through a candlelight vigil. You can light a virtual candle in honor of Corporal Latu.

“He should never be forgotten; he should never be a statistic,” said Haberstich. “He will never be forgotten here at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.”

The vigil is scheduled for Wednesday night at 8:00p.m (ET). You can learn more on the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund’s website.

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