'It's a terrible club:' Nashville honors fallen police officers

Metro Police honor those who died in the line of duty
Posted at 6:03 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 19:04:22-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Members of the Metro Nashville Police Department gathered Tuesday at First Baptist Church to remember the fallen as part of an annual memorial service. They were joined by family members of those who died putting their lives on the line.

Members of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police spoke, along with Chief John Drake and Mayor John Cooper.

The event came on the eight-year anniversary of the death of officer Michael Petrina, who was killed in the line of duty after he was hit by a motorhome that failed to move over on Interstate 65.

It's a pain the family of Lieutenant Ronnie Woodard know all too well.

Watch the full memorial service in the player below.

Fraternal Order of Police hold annual memorial service

"It's a terrible club to belong to in so many ways, but there's a feeling of empathy," said his daughter.

Lieutenant Woodard was shot and killed in 1991 after he stopped the driver of a stolen car.

"He was a policeman's policeman," said his brother Steve Woodard.

At the front of the church were pictures of those who died serving Nashville.

"In 2021 the law enforcement profession experienced one of the deadliest years on record," said Sergeant James Smallwood, president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police. "A staggering 563 who bravely stood the line in the face of unprecedented challenge tragically lost their lives in the services of their communities across this country."

In total, 46 law enforcement professionals have died while serving Nashville since 1875.

"And sadly for too many of us, the cost has been far greater than we could ever have imagined," said Smallwood. "Our worst nightmares are revealed by a late-night phone call or an unwanted knock upon our door."

One by one, family members were escorted by a member of MNPD to lay a yellow rose by the photo of their loved one.

The ceremony ended with a prayer that no new names be added to the list next year.