Every time a police officer dies in the line of duty, Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce sends a sympathy card to the officer’s department.
“It’s not unusual for me to fill out three or four cards a week,” Joyce said.
While Maine has been blessed with relatively few line-of-duty officer deaths, it does hit home for officers and their families.
“Heroes Behind the Badge,” a documentary that seeks to capture that sense of loss and sacrifice, will be presented as part of a fundraising event Friday at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center.
Joyce and Westbrook Public Safety Chief Michael Pardue will narrate the presentation, which includes a ceremonial presenting of the colors accompanied by the Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corps.
The event will include information and a symbolic table with an empty place setting, representing an officer who did not come home, Joyce said.
“There are 19,000 names on the national memorial. For each one, there’s an empty seat at the dinner table,” Joyce said.
The film itself is 80 minutes long, and through interviews and narrative storytelling highlights a few of the officers across the country who died in the role of providing public safety.
A portion of the event’s proceeds will go to the national law enforcement memorial, the state law enforcement memorial and to camp POSTCARD, a camp run by officers for at-risk fifth- and sixth-graders.
Admission is $12 in advance through www.mainesheriffs.org, and $15 at the door. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
One of the film’s producers, Bill Erfurth, a retired lieutenant from the Miami-Dade Police Department, plans to fly in from Florida for the event.
A similar event will be held in Waterville on Saturday.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: