Fort Worth police memorial a somber reminder of danger

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 6:57 PM

FORT WORTH — Police officers and their families converged on Fort Worth's Memorial Park Wednesday to remember colleagues who were killed in the line of duty.

Among those in attendance were several officers who came very close to paying the ultimate sacrifice themselves.

Two Fort Worth police officers have been shot this year. They know all too well that their names could have been on this wall.

"We thank you for the dedication; for the work that they did; for the love that they had for the City of Fort Worth," said Linda Freeto, a fallen officer’s mother who delivered the invocation.

The annual memorial service is a powerful reminder to these officers and their families of how dangerous their job is.

"We've had several injuries this year, and they are stark reminders of the grim reality and dangers you face every day on the streets," said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

No one knows that more than police Officer Johnny Bell.

In January, a robbery suspect shot Bell three times in Haltom City. Since then, he has had surgeries to repair his hand, to remove a bullet lodged in his hip and shrapnel from his eye.

"People have a tendency to forget, and we can't do that," Bell said. "And I just want to remind people too, there are a lot of injured, maimed officers that are still out here. You know, it wouldn't have took much for us to be on that wall."

Officer Richard Lambing also survived a close call with death. In July 2010, Lambing suffered head injuries in an accident involving a high-speed chase on a rain-slicked highway.

Karen Freeto came to the service to remember her husband, Officer Dwayne Freeto. In December of 2006, his squad car was rear-ended and burst into flames.

"You want to remember them, and it means a lot to always remember them," Freeto said. "If one day we just stopped doing memorials, we forgot."

Johnny Bell said fallen officers remembered Wednesday share his belief: if they had a choice to serve their community again, they would.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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