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Fallen officer memorial to stop in Conyers

CONYERS -- The inscription of slain Rockdale County Sheriff's deputy Investigator Brian Mahaffey will be unveiled as one of the 632 names on a mobile memorial wall Monday to remember fallen law enforcement officers.

The annual Fallen Heroes Memorial Tour travels across the state, displaying the names of Georgia law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club (Georgia VII) sponsors the tour. This year, the wall includes 10 names of officers killed in 2010.

The wall and its escort will arrive in Conyers about 11 a.m. Monday. The roughly 8-foot-tall, 24-foot-long trailer will be parked on Main Street in front of the Rockdale County Courthouse. A brief program will be held around 11:45 a.m.

Main Street from Elm to Center Streets will be closed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., when the wall leaves to continue the statewide tour.

Chapter president Ed Christian explained the ceremony includes an honor guard presentation, a special flag display, and some words from Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington. There will also be the unveiling of Mahaffey's name on the wall. The public will also have the chance to sign their own names and read the many names and messages written inside the trailer.

"The wall generates many, many stories. Every one of the names is a different story," Christian said.

Christian said the names on the wall date back to 1852 when DeKalb County Sheriff Moses Formwalt became the first Georgia officer killed in the line of duty.

A spirit of camaraderie among law enforcement and the desire to share that spirit are what moved the club to first start the memorial wall. Christian said the fallen officers should not be forgotten.

"It's a way of bringing to the local community that they are part of the entire state, and we're always going to remember their name," Christian said. "It's all about remembrance and honor and trying to keep the memory alive."

He added the tour is also to support the families of the fallen officer.

"Each family member that lost an officer belonged to a community and we're trying to make them aware that we need to take ownership of that family," Christian said.

The state tour typically begins its first stop with a small group of "dedicated volunteers," then the support "grows and grows," according to Christian.

"Everybody wants to be a part of it, so they just join us," he said.

The public is encouraged to participate in Monday's program.

For more information on the Blue Knights, visit www.blueknightsgavii.org.