On Wednesday, 05 December 2018 the sound of the bagpipes filled the air at the Raleigh Police Memorial in honor of 2 Raleigh Police Officers killed in the line of duty 50 years earlier. Raleigh Police Chief, Cassandra Deck-Brown reflected on the service and sacrifice of these officers. While the full comments are listed below, the symbolism of the riderless horse she spoke of, “a warrior…that guardian who will ride no more...” grounds us and guides us to remain true to the line. "The empty boots facing backward in the stirrups are the reflection of our reality that our brothers will ride and serve no more."
Read Chief Deck-Brown's full comments below.
James Wade Allen and James Gale Lee: End of Watch - 05 December 1968
December 5, 1968, was a cold night. Two officers - James “Jimmy” Wade Allen and James Gale Lee began their shift like so many of us have. Though nothing seems routine today, in 1968, that night, they were on routine patrol. It was that night that we lost two of our Raleigh Police brothers as they responded to a call for service as a check-in. It was on this date that their watch ended as their vehicle veered off to avoid hitting an oncoming vehicle. Unfortunately, their vehicle was struck and then struck a tree. Today, we stand in remembrance of two of our fallen brothers:
James “Jimmy” Wade Allen was the younger of two bothers. The law enforcement and government service was a present influence in the Allen family. The high school valedictorian, ROTC participant, golf team member and engineering major at North Carolina State University would later marry his high school sweetheart and join the Raleigh Police Department. He volunteered for the Traffic Division, and later trained to become a motorcycle patrolman as well. The all-around “guy” had such a personality that he was often recognized as the person who could make an arrest and still make the arrestee feel good about himself. Officer Allen was dedicated and driven to serve as well and he too would later join the North Carolina Guard.
At the age of 19, Officer Lee joined the Raleigh Police department after working on the family farm and attending Fayetteville Technical Community College. Too young to serve as a police officer, he would supplement desk personnel until the age of 21. Dedicated and driven to serve, he would later join the North Carolina Guard. He was often viewed as being mature beyond his years and had a strong sense of responsibility when it came to caring for his family. Reserved, yet humble, Officer Lee was steadfast in his responsibilities to his family, his police department and to his country. It was on December 4th, the night before the fatal crash that he stopped by his sister’s house to drop of a check for Christmas gifts for the family.
Two men dedicated to family; two Raleigh Police officers dedicated to serving this community and their State in the NC National Guard. Both men ended their watch on December 5, 1968.
As we lay these wreaths today, let us reflect on the dignity and pride we share in honoring our fallen. As we stand at this memorial, it shall provide a place for consolation and meditation as it connects our past to our present and our present to our future so they will not be forgotten for generations to come.
As we stand here today, this sacred place will serve as a pivotal reminder to our community and to those who travel to and through our city of the sacrifice that Officers Allen and Lee… and others have made. It is my hope that we can all find inspiration in the greater understanding of service, commitment and sacrifice.
The riderless horse you see as part of today’s ceremony symbolizes a “warrior…that guardian who will ride no more.” The empty boots facing backward in the stirrups are the reflection of our reality that our brothers will ride and serve no more. For we know that they concluded their service and ended their watch on this day, December 5, 1968. Today, those boots symbolize our bothers Allen and Lee looking back on us…their beloved family…and the men and women of the organization that they loved so much.
With such powerful symbolism of those boots facing backwards, we stand here today looking onward and facing forward towards another day of recognition and honor for our fallen brothers for their service, their commitment and their sacrifice.
Today reminds us of the promise that each of us must keep to ensure that the legacy of our fallen remains steadfast and that the Raleigh Police Department is always moving forward.#ForOurFallen