A soft spring evening in Missoula was populated by hard men in uniform, as the Missoula Law Enforcement Memorial took place at Rose Park on Tuesday.

There were many agencies represented, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, the University of Montana Police Department, the Montana Highway Patrol and personnel from the Missoula County Detention Center.

Along with the pomp and ceremony, hearts were heavy over the loss of a brother officer on Tuesday morning, as Broadwater County Sheriff's Deputy Mason Moore was shot and killed by two men who were eventually captured after a firefight just outside Missoula.

TJ McDermott
TJ McDermott

Sheriff T.J. McDermott expressed his feelings before the event began.

"The tragedy that happened in Broadwater County on Tuesday with the loss of a deputy sheriff really struck law enforcement all over the state," McDermott said. "The ending of that incident here in Missoula County involving multiple agencies, officers and deputies was a reminder of just how dangerous our job is. How, at any moment, a law enforcement officer can be engaged in a situation where they could lose their life."

McDermott recalled his friendship with Broadwater County Sheriff Meehan.

"I've spoken with him, and the pain and suffering that his department and his community is going through right now is real, and our hearts go out to him, his department and community."

peter christian
Tim Fox

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, the state's top law enforcement officer, related his visit with the family of the slain deputy.

"I met with the Moore family yesterday and my heart is heavy, but I'm really encouraged by just how special Montanans are and how they respond to tragedies like this," Fox said. "This event here tonight and all the outpouring of support throughout the state show me that Montanans are special people. This showing of support is not only encouraging for the Moore family, but for all the law enforcement officers who are here today."

The last Missoula law enforcement officer to die from an incident in the line of duty was City Police Sergeant Robert Heinle, who died on February 12, 2010 from complications caused by a gunshot wound. He was 47.

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