HCSO Co-Hosts 2023 Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony
Hamilton County, TN – Earlier this morning, Sheriff Austin Garrett and the men and women of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office proudly joined with Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy and the Chattanooga Police Department, to co-host the 2023 Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at the site of the Hamilton County Law Enforcement Memorial. In addition to HCSO and CPD personnel, law enforcement agencies throughout our county and region also participated in the ceremony as we collectively honored those amongst our ranks who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our community’s safety.
This year’s ceremony was held in conjunction with National Police Week. During National Police Week, law enforcement agencies throughout our Nation gather in Washington, D.C. at the site of the National Law Enforcement Memorial to recognize our country’s fallen law enforcement heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Numerous family members representing our fallen law enforcement personnel were in attendance at this morning’s ceremony.
“Today’s Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony, held in conjunction with National Police Week, allows our profession and our community the opportunity to recognize and never forget the men and women in law enforcement who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our safety while standing in the gap between good and evil,” stated Sheriff Austin Garrett.
The Hamilton County Law Enforcement Monument, located on Market Street next to the Hamilton County Courts Building, bears (73) names of law enforcement personnel who have been killed in the line of duty from not only Hamilton County, but Marion, Bradley, Sequatchie, and Grundy counties. There are also several names listed from federal and municipal law enforcement agencies listed as well including the ATF and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
This year, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and the Chattanooga Police Department respectfully added two names to the Hamilton County Law Enforcement Memorial Wall who were killed in the line of duty in 2022.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Harold Lee Russell and Marion County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sergeant Matthew Walker Blansett were killed in the line of duty on August 23, 2022 when the Bell 206 helicopter they were in struck high-tension power lines and crashed into a wooded area on Aetna Mountain in Marion County. Sergeant Russell and Detective Sergeant Blansett were conducting an aerial mission in the Chattanooga area when the crash occurred.
• Sergeant Russell served with the Tennessee Highway Patrol for 12 years and was assigned to the Special Opts Aviation Unit. He is survived by his wife, son, daughter, parents, brother, and grandmother.
• Detective Blansett served with the Marion County Sheriff's Office for 20 years and also served as a Marion County Commissioner. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
As this is National Police Week, please join with us as we remember the sacrifice of our community’s fallen law enforcement personnel.
More photos can be found on our HCSO Facebook page.