ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Tuesday dozens honored Hoonah police officers Matt Tokuoka and Tony Wallace with a motorcade through the streets of Anchorage.
Alaska’s law enforcement community gathered together to honor the fallen officers.
“To see them all gathered together like that, it's encouraging to know we have one another's back and we're there and willing to assist and help one another even through the grieving process,” said Lt. Dave Parker, APD.
From Anchorage to Hoonah, law enforcement officers from across Alaska will be with their fallen comrades every step of the way.
“We're all brother agencies. We all have the same goals and objectives and that's to protect and serve the public and this is an opportunity for all the agencies to come together regardless their affiliation to recognize the fallen officers,” said Lt. Craig MacDonald, Alaska State Troopers.
The motorcade carried the remains of Tokuoka and Wallace along with the U.S. honor flag. The train of flashing lights travelled from the Alaska Cremation Center to a trooper plane standing by waiting to fly to Juneau.
“We like to try to take time to honor those individuals and their sacrifice and that was what we were doing this morning,” Parker said.
Honor and remember, but it's also a time for the officers to reflect on the daily dangers of their profession.
“Going to work every day with the knowledge that that might be there day,” said MacDonald.
Standing side-by-side the officers gathered to show support for Tokuoka and Wallace, but also for each other and other law enforcement officers from around Alaska.
“We have very few law enforcement officers in the state of Alaska, maybe 1,000. When you lose law enforcement officers in the line of duty it's especially significant here in Alaska because they are so few,” said Parker.
“I think it's important that any time there's a fallen police officer, a fallen firefighter, this occurs so that the public has a chance to mourn along with the brother officers,” said MacDonald.
Two officers will stand with the remains all night Tuesday in Juneau. There will be a motorcade Wednesday to escort the remains to the ferry terminal. The ferry is scheduled to arrive in Hoonah Wednesday afternoon.
Also in remembrance of the fallen officers, troopers flew the U.S. honor flag over the state capitol. It also recognized Sen. Ted Stevens and U.S. Customs Agent Charles Collins who went missing during the washouts on the Taylor Highway. Collins was found dead last month.
A memorial service will be held for Tokuoka and Wallace in Hoonah Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. The service will be broadcast live on GCI channel 1 and will also be streamed live on KTUU.com.
Contact Jackie Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org