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Joseph W. McQuaid: City should honor all fallen officers

New Hampshire Union Leader Publisher

December 06. 2012 1:08AM

Manchester aldermen who voted Tuesday night to honor one fallen police officer by naming the new station for him do a dishonor to another fallen police officer. They can do better.

One way, as Alderman Joe Kelley Levasseur suggested, would be to name the new station for Michael Briggs and Ralph Miller. A better way would be to come up with a suitable memorial within the new building that would honor all police officers who lose their lives in public service.

The current Ralph Miller Public Safety Center is not named for some ancient memory. Officer Miller was shot down in 1976. His murderer is still very much alive and still in prison. The Miller family, including his widow, children, and parents, still live here.

Police Chief David Mara said the Briggs family, which lost their loved one in 2006, should get to see the same honor bestowed on him as was bestowed on Miller.

That is a fine sentiment. But what happens, God forbid, if in 20 years another officer is killed?

Will the Briggs family be shunted aside? Will they feel then as the Miller family and friends must feel now?

We understand that emotions are still raw for those who served with Officer Briggs. His killer faces the death penalty. Appeals may linger for years. But emotions are also still very much alive for those connected with Officer Miller. And what of the sacrifice of Officers McAllister and Moher, who died in an earlier era?

This need not be an either/or choice.

The aldermen would do themselves and the city proud by taking a new vote to suitably honor all officers who have given their lives to serve and protect their city.

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