Heroes Honored: Akron Police Memorial Brings Sadness, Pride

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AKRON-- The Akron Police Department held its annual memorial service on Wednesday to pay tribute to its fallen officers.

“You never know when a bad incident is going to happen and that's really the scary thing about it,” said Akron Police Chief James Nice.

24 Akron officers have died in the line of duty. The most recent was Officer Russ Long.

The chief said he was known for his good looks, athleticism and positive attitude.

Long was paralyzed after getting into an accident during a high speed chase back in 1991. He died last year due to complications from his injuries.

“Russ was hurt 20 years ago and we've been coming out every year, so I knew at some point in time, it would be his time,” said his mother, Barbara Long. “I didn't expect it now, but it was his time.”

She said Russ stayed involved with the force even after he was hurt.

“I kept him out there deliberately so that people would see that cops get hurt too, and he was always in uniform whenever we out to functions. I always made sure they knew he was a cop,” she said.

Chief Nice said these services always bring out a lot of emotion, but it’s not all bad.

“There's a sadness and a respect for them that still goes on, but it makes you proud to be a part of what they served for,” he said.