SAVANNAH, GA (November 2, 2011): The third Run to Remember for Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s  newest recruits will honor the last officer to die in the line of duty in Chatham County.

 

Twenty-one Metro police officers in training, dozens of other officers and a host of volunteers will honor Officer Willie Samuel Smith at 10 a.m. Thursday. 

 

The run culminates 19 weeks of training for the recruits, including 11 weeks at the Georgia Public Training Center-Garden City. Then they will begin 10 weeks of supervised patrol with a veteran officer before patrolling the jurisdiction on their own.

 

It begins. at Daffin Park and terminates at Cedar Street and Delesseps Avenue where Smith was killed March 11, 1994. There, a memorial service will be held and a wreath laid by the recruits in his honor. Father John Lyons of Sacred Heart Catholic Church will present the opening and closing prayers.

 

Smith, the Savannah Police Department Rookie of the Year in 1993, was a 23-year-old National Guard veteran when he was killed. He was run over by a fleeing suspect near his police car, making him the latest of 57 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the county.

 

“The Run To Remember is a newly added tradition for each graduating class to honor officers who have fallen in the line of duty and to reinforce to our new and existing officers how dangerous this profession can be,” said SCMPD Training Director Gary Taylor.

 

The run is open to the public. Runners will begin staging at 9 a.m. Thursday in the north end of Daffin Park at Washington Avenue and Bee Road.

 

Those wishing to participate can contact Training Director Gary Taylor at 658-6335 or Officer Aaron Washington at 667-1830, or simply show up at the park.

 

The following day the recruits will be pinned as officers in the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. The pinning ceremony begins at Friday 3 p.m. in the Savannah Civic Center. Savannah businessman Mark Dana will provide the keynote address.

 

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