When you first met Jim Lewis you were likely to notice his prominent, Roman nose. It gave his face character in contrast to his calm and easy-going nature. Jim’s casual confidence was of great value when he worked the streets of Tacoma as a patrol officer and field training instructor, as a member of the department’s search and rescue team, and, in his last assignment, as a motorcycle traffic officer.
On April 27, 2004, Jim Lewis was speeding down a Tacoma street with his lights and sirens activated when a motorist pulled out in front of him. Jim died in the collision.
The name Jim Lewis, along with over 300 other Washington police officers killed in the line of duty, is now etched into the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial. On Tuesday, May 15, Peace Officers Memorial Day, we honored them by wearing black bands on our badges and flying our flags at half staff.
Personally, I prefer we remember these men and women by recalling their humor and courage, their ambitions and disappointments – even the little quirks that, despite our common uniform, made them each unique individuals. I want to recall the comraderie that grew between these fallen officers and those of us who still carry on. Such bonds, whether forged in happy times or desperate moments, are worth remembering.
The rest of the week, May 14-19, is now known as Police Week. With over 300 names on the memorial the next couple of days provide a fitting opportunity to share some of the memories of those who died in the line of duty. This is an invitation to anyone – family member, friend, cop or citizen – who wishes to add a personal anecdote to the names now frozen in marble. If you choose to do so, just log in with a username and submit it as a comment on this column.
Any snippet, little known fact or personal experience about any of the officers on our state’s law enforcement memorial are welcome. Whether it brings tears, laughs or smiles, your comments will give honor to the memory of those who have ended their watch.
Gone but not forgotten.