Parade celebrates police, honors fallen officers and their families

(Brian Yocono/WPRI)

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – Members of almost 100 police departments took part in the 30th annual Aquidneck Island National Police Parade Sunday morning.

Marchers represented 90 departments and included officers from New York City, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

The purpose of the parade is to honor fallen law enforcement officers and their families.

“We’re out here for the 124 officers who didn’t make it home at the end of their duty last year,” Sgt. Corey Huck of the Newport Police Department said.

The parade stepped off at 11:50 a.m. in front of the Hampton Inn in Middletown and ended a mile and a half later in Newport. Ominous clouds threatened rain, but marchers and spectators avoided any serious raindrops.

Relatives of officers killed in the line of duty find family and community among each other every year. Fran Snyder’s husband, Officer William Snyder, Sr., was a member of the Groton Police Department. He was killed in 1994 after being struck by a car while working a construction detail. This year, she attended with her daughter and grandchild.

“The first year when your husband, father, brother or sister…when they’re first killed, you think you’re alone,” she said. “It’s hard for us to see them go through what we went through.”

“I always revert back to Mrs. Jackson,” Sgt. Huck said. “Brian Jackson died in the line of duty in Dallas – a Middletown native with the Dallas Police Department. She came out that first year and after the parade she didn’t know if she was going to make it through that day. And at the end of the parade she gave me that hug and said ‘thank you.’ That’s what we’re here for.”

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