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Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office honors fallen colleagues in ceremony

(KTAR News Photo/Kathy Cline)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office remembered its fallen colleagues during a ceremony on Friday morning.

“Taps” and bagpipers were heard at the 16th annual ceremony that honored fallen deputies from 1922 to 2013.

“[The ceremony is] a reminder of the dangers and sacrifice that come with this job,” Sheriff Paul Penzone told attendees. “But it’s also the recognition of the importance of keeping this community safe.”

Among the fallen deputies were Deputy Kenneth Blair, was killed in September 1995 during a domestic-violence call, and Deputy Gary Labenz, who died of a heart attack in 2005 while helping out during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Sgt. David Lee said the ceremony is comforting for families but it means a lot to the agency as a whole.

“We haven’t forgotten them, and their sacrifices and what they’ve been through,” he said. “This tribute ceremony means a lot to all of us.”

A fire truck with an American flag dangled above the crowd, and a riderless horse — which represents the commitment of the sheriff’s office to justice and service — was also there.

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