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Arkansas State Police officials honor fallen troopers

Daniel Breen
Dr. Wynona Bryant-Williams, whose husband Trooper Louis Bryant was killed in the line of duty in 1984, addresses family and friends of fallen state troopers at the Arkansas State Police headquarters in Little Rock.

Family members gathered at the Arkansas State Police headquarters in Little Rock on Tuesday to pay tribute to state troopers who’ve died in the line of duty.

The Arkansas State Police held its annual memorial ceremony to honor the 19 officers and two K9 officers who’ve died in the line of duty in the department’s 87-year history.

State Police Lt. Col. Shawn Garner offered his condolences to the friends and family of fallen troopers, with the department’s honor guard presenting a rose for each officer.

“ASP is a family, and family always takes care of each other during the good times and the bad times,” Garner said. “To the surviving families, all current, former and retired ASP personnel, you are always family and the door of the Arkansas State Police is always open for you.”

Among those paying tribute was Dr. Wynona Bryant-Williams, whose husband, Trooper Louis Bryant, was shot and killed during a traffic stop in 1984. She called for more civility both from community members and from the law enforcement officers who serve them.

“There is nothing that any of us, the 19 family members can do on behalf of our family members that we honor today, but perhaps as a community we can start building on progressive and positive initiatives to rebuild the trust and respect of our police officers,” Bryant-Williams said.

A retired State Police commissioner, Bryant-Williams urged members of the public to “see the person behind the uniform,” which she said often represents disrespect and violence to those who encounter police. She said the support she’s received from other family members of fallen troopers has been crucial to her healing process.

“Thank you for bringing some light in our lives. Thank you for bringing some peace into our lives. It has not been easy, but I say to you today that we are no longer victims, we are survivors.”

Tuesday’s memorial service comes ahead of National Police Week, which begins on Sunday.

Daniel Breen is a Little Rock-based reporter, anchor and producer for KUAR.