by Lauren Krupar
Cuyahoga Falls -- During a week designed to honor fallen police officers, the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department remembered three members of its family lost during the last year.
"It's been a tough year since our last memorial service," Police Capt. Jack Davis said, adding the department lost three "family members" last year -- Cuyahoga Falls Police Officer Sgt. 1st Class Daniel B. Crabtree, retired dispatcher Karen Tomlinson and retired police Capt. Richard "Dick" Glenn Thursby.
"We need to remember their dedication and love for the job," Davis said.
Capt. Thursby died Feb. 11 in Vero Beach, Fla. after working more than 27 years with the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department. He was a deputy for the Summit County Sheriff's Office before signing up with the Falls police department in 1963. He retired in the early 1990s.
Dispatcher Tomlinson died Sept. 22, 2006, after 30 years of service with the department. She was named Summit County Dispatcher of Year in 2005, the year she retired.
Officer Crabtree was killed June 8, 2006, while on combat patrol in Iraq with the Ohio Army National Guard's company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group. He was a member of the department's special response team and the honor guard.
On May 15, the honor guard Officer Crabtree had been a member of led an audience of Cuyahoga Falls police officers, fire department personnel and members of the public in the Cuyahoga Falls Police Memorial Service at the Natatorium's community room.
"It is a honor to be here," Officer Crabtree's father, Ronald Crabtree, said after the memorial. "It was a very beautiful service to honor all the fallen police officers of Cuyahoga Falls."
More than 20 members of the public attended the service. For the first time in the history of the memorial, Mayor Don Robart led the more than 30 uniformed Falls police officers attending the service in reaffirming their oath of office.
"I was thinking as I was sitting here watching them all come forward to take the oath how we as citizens take them all for granted," Robart said. "I hear on a daily basis how they are placed in life threatening situations every day. Their life is on a very narrow line."
Robart said 145 police officers across the country were killed in the line of duty last year.
"We shouldn't have lost any of them," Robart said. "They are all good men and women."
The service was part of the national police officers' memorial week beginning May 13 and ending May 19. Throughout the week, all Cuyahoga Falls police officers wore black mourning bands over their badges.
Cuyahoga Falls Police Capt. Tom Pozza described the week as one of remembrance.
"It's a time to reflect on what the job means to you and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice," Pozza said. "This week is just a time to take time out of the busy week to remember."