ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis County first responders gather in Clayton for a prayer breakfast to remember those killed in the line of duty.
This is the 40th annual memorial prayer breakfast, and the first since tragedy struck the police department in October.
“Obviously this is the first year that we’ll honor officer Blake Snyder, but we don’t want to lose focus on all of the officers that have given their lives and the sacrifices that they’ve made for our community and the citizens that we’ve sworn to protect and serve,” says Police Lt. Jerry Lohr.
Lohr says firefighters and paramedics also put their lives in danger. Lohr was on the scene in July of 2008 when a gunman shot and killed Maplewood Firefighter Ryan Hummert, who was responding to a truck fire.
“We had an individual who intentionally set a fire and waited for first responders to show up, and he shot and killed Ryan Hummert on scene, and then he was also engaging the law enforcement officers, the Maplewood officers that showed up,” he says.
Lohr says the relationship between police and the community is improving since Ferguson.
“Initially right after the Ferguson event there at the tail end of 2014, there was kind of a misconception or a feeling of separation between law enforcement and the community, however the response that we’ve received from the community has been overwhelming,” he says.
Lohr says the recent passage of Proposition P by county voters has also helped morale. It will provide more money for police raises, and money to hire extra officers so more police can ride in pairs.
A memorial ceremony starts at 10 this morning in Memorial Park on Carondelet in Clayton.
The public is welcome.