It was a bitter sweet day for the thousands honoring our local officers at the "Aquidneck Island National Police Parade" Sunday. The event was not just about enjoying the festivities on West Main Road in Middletown, it comes just a couple weeks after Providence Police Sergeant Max Dorley was killed.
About 70 thousand people were out supporting our local police. Little kids were dressed up in cop uniforms and were waving American flags, but it was also a tough day. Some of the families at the parade lost their loved ones who went to work as officers and never came home.
18 years after his police sergeant son was killed in the line of duty, it's still a struggle for Bob Shaw. He was chosen to lead this year's parade. When we asked him if it was an honor he teared up, saying to him it definitely was.
"Pappa Shaw means a lot to this parade," said organizer Detective Frank Rosa, "This is our 29th consecutive year remembering fallen officers throughout our nation, and we've had some local officers killed recently and today is about remembering those officers who will not be coming home from their shift."
Shaw's son, Providence Police Sergeant Steven M. Shaw, was killed responding to a home robbery. The father hopes his pain can help others understand how brave these officers are.
"It's about survivors and the police officers that aren't getting enough respect," said Shaw, "Very seldom do you hear people say to police officers thank you for answering that call."
About 150 officers are killed in the line of duty each year. Sunday, a moment of silence was held for a Providence police officer who died just two weeks ago.
"In the city of Providence, we've had four police officers killed since 1994, since Steven Shaw," said Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements, "And just recently we've had Max Dorley and his family as well, outstanding people, very sad."
Sergeant Dorley was killed in a crash trying to respond to another officer's call. It was a tragedy Pappa Shaw takes personally. He spent several hours having a heart to heart with the Dorley family.
"I told them I walked before them and now we walk side by side," said Shaw. He said it really doesn't get any easier after you lose a loved one, but even if it was just for a moment, all the support from people at the parade helped him feel a little bit better.