The Laying of the Wreath. From left, Diamondhead Police Chief Anthony Gambino, Bay St. Louis Police Chief Gary Ponthieux, MHP Troop K Trooper First Class Jeremiah Beard, Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam, and Waveland Police Chief Mike Prendegast.

The Black Band

I'm sick of putting this band on my badge, Of seeing another brother fall. Of seeing another sister laid out Upon an altar before us all.

Of seeing another family sit, While they receive a folded flag.

And know of the crushing loss they feel,

As you can see their shoulders sag.

Then I remember what this band means,

Recalling the fallen who've before. Who gave everything they had,

To honor the badges that they wore.

By protecting the public from evil that lurks, In the dark recess of society's mind,

By being the last bastion of defense.

By being the honored thin blue line.

-- Officer Jeffrey P. Webb of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

Hancock County's law enforcement officers on Thursday gathered on the lawn of the Hancock County Courthouse for a memorial service honoring fallen peace officers.

The service was emceed by Hancock County Sheriff's Office Chaplain Jeb Banashak.

Pastor Frank Griffin of Calvary Chapel Church led the invocation followed by the presentation of colors by the Bay High School ROTC.

Katlin Jewell sang the National Anthem and Bay St. Louis Councilman Larry Smith led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam, Diamondhead Police Chief Anthony Gambino, Bay St. Louis Police Chief Gary Ponthieux, Waveland Police Chief Mike Prendergast, and Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop K Trooper First Class Jeremiah Beard participated in the laying of the black wreath.

Bay St. Louis Mayor Mike Favre read a proclamation recognizing the sacrifices law enforcement officers make.

Hancock High School Assistant Band Director Len Jenkins performed TAPS and Central Bible Church Pastor Mike Ramsey led the benediction.

Banashak read aloud the names of the officers remembered during Thursday's memorial:

• Eldridge "Capt. Al" Hermann, Feb. 27, 2015, Hancock County Sheriff's Office/Diamondhead Police Department.

• Dennis Tartavoulle, May 14, 2000, Hancock County Sheriff's Office.

• Ennis "Paul" Denham, Dec. 27, 1999, Mississippi Highway Patrol.

• William "Bill" Kenny, Dec. 21, 1967, Mississippi Highway Patrol.

• Cyril Reichart, Feb. 5, 1947, Mississippi Highway Patrol.

• Robert McKeithen, May 5, 2019, Biloxi Police Department.

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