Newport News Police Department holds ceremony honoring 12 officers who died in the line of duty

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Posted at 11:26 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 12:23:05-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The Newport News Police Department is remembering 12 of their own at a memorial service Monday night.

Members of the community gathered alongside Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew and other members of the police department to remember officers who were killed in the line of duty.

The department has lost 12 officers since 1919, the most recent being Officer Katie Thyne, who lost her life in 2020 after a traffic stop.

News 3 reporter Kelsey Jones spoke with Thyne's wife, Whitlee Thyne, who tells us it says a lot, even two years later, that her legacy is impacting people.

"They laid a tremendous foundation for us to build on and move forward," Chief Drew said.

"Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss," one speaker said.

Speakers took the podium, sharing stories of how their lives have been affected by police officers.

But the most recent death is still rocking the community.

"Katherine M. Thyne became a Newport News Police officer in 2018 following a career in the U.S. Navy. On Jan. 23, 2020, during a traffic stop, the driver accelerated, dragging Officer Thyne before crashing into a tree," CDR Shane Jensen, a trauma surgeon who is active duty in the U.S. Navy, said.

Officer Thyne died later that night from her injuries

"I was the trauma surgeon on call when she came in," Jensen said. "Once we could do all that we did for Katie - some of which occurred in front of her colleagues and family - we performed our attempts to resuscitate Katie and we were unable to reverse the damage that has been done."

That night is still on the forefront of Chief Drew's mind - a harsh reminder of the dangers that police officers face every day on the job.

"As long as we say their names and remember who they are, but in our hearts, our minds and our memories," Chief Drew said.

Twelve portraits with roses were dedicated to each fallen officer.

Officer Thyne is survived by her daughter, who was 2 years old when Thyne was killed, her fiancée and her family.

Whitlee spoke with News 3 off camera and told us Katie wanted people to live their lives in a way that makes the world a better place and said that her smile lives on.

Related: Honoring fallen Newport News Police Officer Katie Thyne one year later