We have immense respect for our local law enforcement heroes, and one of the really special programs of the year to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice will be held this weekend.

Seniors and Lawmen Together (SALT) will hold its annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Cape Bible Chapel. The program serves as an opportunity to honor the 52 fallen officers from 13 Southeast Missouri counties: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard and Wayne.

The keynote speaker will be Sandy Karsten, director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety. There will be prayers offered by Pastors Josh Stephens and Shawn Wasson of Cape Bible Chapel and Bethany Baptist Church. The great, great granddaughters of former Cape Girardeau Police Chief Nathaniel Hutson, who was killed in the line of duty on Oct. 7, 1922, will play “Amazing Grace” on the violin.

Dr. Frank Nickel will be honored with the Roger Fields Award of Excellence. Fields, a longtime Cape PD officer who rose through the ranks to assistant chief, died in 2014 from a medical condition. He was highly regarded in the community.

While the SALT event is held to honor those individuals and their families who paid the ultimate sacrifice, we’d also like to take the opportunity to thank all those who serve in local law enforcement. May 15 to 21 is Police Week. Those who serve in law enforcement have an incredibly challenging job, and they serve not for the pay or glory but because they embrace the opportunity to protect their community. We’re grateful these individuals exist and extend our appreciation.

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