By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The bravest act a police officer performs is putting on a badge for the first time, said retired Cleveland Police Chief Edward Kovacic.
Kovacic, who spoke during Thursday's Trumbull County Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony at the Warren Police Department, said what officers do in the line of duty is what makes them heroes.
"We go in harm's way," Kovacic said. "We go to situations where others are running away from."
Dangers of job: He noted that when he began his career in Cleveland in the 1960s he was sent to several riots were police were often attacked.
"One officer I worked with was hit in the head with a brick during a riot," Kovacic said. He added that officers often have to go to domestic scenes where they find frightened and hurt children.
The retired chief noted ceremonies such as the one held here are necessary to honor those who are serving and those who died in the line of duty.
"We don't want to ever forget them, and we don't want the public to forget," said John Mandopoulos, Warren's police chief. "The officers we are honoring today gave their lives for the community."
Organized event: Mandopoulos and Officer Brian Crites of Warren, who helped organized the event, said that in the past the police department invited only Trumbull County officers to the memorial. This year, however, Mahoning County's police officers were invited.
Mandopoulos said since officers here often find themselves working with law enforcement in Mahoning County he felt that those officers should be included in the 40-minute ceremony. The event included the reading of the names of all officers in Trumbull and Mahoning counties killed in the line of duty and a gun salute presented by the Warren police honor guard.
"I think Warren did a real good job, and I think this is an important event," said Bazetta Police Chief Robert Jacola, who attended the ceremony. "This type of ceremony hasn't been held in Warren for a few years, and I'm glad that it is once again taking place."
In Mahoning County, a similar ceremony was held at St. Maron Church on Meridian Road in Youngstown.