MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Members of the End of Watch Ride to Remember tour have made it their mission to honor each of the 146 officers that were killed in the line of duty in 2019.
The group of motorcyclists from the state of Washington has been traveling across the country to visit the home departments all of the fallen officers.
On Wednesday morning, they stopped at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to remember Cpl. Michael Latu. Last December, Latu was killed in a car crash while responding to a call for service.
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Sheriff’s deputies escorted the riders to the Marion County Law Enforcement Complex, where they honored Latu’s sacrifice.
End of Watch organizer, Jagrut Shah, said they want to stand with the departments who’ve lost partners and friends and let them know they aren’t alone.
“I wanted to bridge this gap that we have and bring back to these departments that the deputies and officers that were lost have not been forgotten,” said Shah.
Behind the group was a trailer, which had the pictures of every fallen officer in 2019.
Shah said this gives them the ability to take Latu’s and other officer’s stories to other departments throughout the nation.
End of Watch brought a large sheet with all of the department patches from places they had visited during their ride.
Deputies placed the Marion County patch on the sheet along with a message for Latu.
Marion County sheriff’s deputy Tammy Erwin said Latu has a lasting legacy and the event on Wednesday was an opportunity to recognize everything he meant to the sheriff’s office.
“Most of us spend more time here than we do at our own homes or with our own families, so it’s important to remember him as a part of our family, but not only that to never forget,” said Erwin. “People worry that over time that their life will be forgotten or their memory will be forgotten, but that’s not the case. His life will never be forgotten at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.”
DONATE | End of Watch Ride to Remember
On July 29, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and county leaders will dedicate the Highway 76/501 Bypass in honor of Latu.