While today is the official Peace Officers Memorial Day across the country, an occasion where officers and civilians take time to pay tribute to those who have paid the greatest price, a silent tribute stands every day outside the entrance to the Knoxville Police Department.
A monument is dedicated to the memory of Night Officer Marion Albert Conrey, the only Knoxville officer ever to be killed in the line of duty. He died on March 17th, 1938, two weeks after confronting and being beaten by an intoxicated couple.
Knoxville Police Chief Dan Losada worked five years ago to have his name added to the law enforcement memorial walls in Iowa and Washington, DC as well as the Officer Down Memorial Page online.
He tells KNIA/KRLS News each officer knows they face this risk every day of their career.
“This is one of those jobs where the day you sign up you realize there may be a day you don’t get to go home. There’s not a lot of jobs like that,” Chief Losada says.
“But we have a very dedicated group of individuals that work for Knoxville now, and in the past, and I’m sure in the future. And nationwide it’s the same thing; it’s an interesting group of people that volunteer to do this job…knowing that they might not go home at the end of their shift.”
Officer Conrey spent 23 years with the department, and died at the age of 56…leaving behind a wife and eight children.