Photos courtesy of Mooresville Police Department

BY MIKE FUHRMAN

After swearing in a new officer last week, Mooresville Police Chief Ron Campurciani joined her family outside of Town Hall.

They posed for a few photos, and then the chief took a few minutes to speak privately with the officer’s parents about the honorable career that their daughter had chosen and the grim reality of the world we live in.

“I put my arm around both of them and said, ‘Listen, I can’t guarantee that nothing’s going to happen to your daughter, but I can guarantee you that we will love her and we will take care of her and she will never be alone,’ ” Campurciani recalled during Wednesday’s National Police Week Ceremony & Memorial.

“I’ve been doing this for 39 years and I’ve never had to tell anybody that before because even though that was a possibility I didn’t feel it,” the chief said. “I feel it now.”

The reality of the dangers of police work hit the Mooresville community less than three weeks ago when eight members of the U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force were shot while attempting to arrest a convicted felon believed to have illegal firearms in Charlotte. Four of the task force members, including Deputy Marshal and Mooresville resident Thomas Weeks Jr. and Mooresville High graduate and CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer, were fatally wounded.

Standing near three chairs adorned with a folded flag and white rose to honor the MPD’s fallen officers — Chief of Police James Rimmer (1938), Detective Lt. Larry Barger (1974), and K9 Officer Jordan Sheldon (2019), Campurciani told a somber crowd that the department will never forget the sacrifices these men made to keep their community safe — and the devastating impact their deaths had on their families.

“Very few of us can understand what it’s like when evil comes through your front door and grabs hold of you,” he said.

On the morning of the April 29 shooting in Charlotte, members of the Marshals Task Force spent time training in Mooresville. The police chief, Mayor Chris Carney and two town commissioners spent time with the officers and enjoyed getting to know them, Campurciani said.

The tragic shooting illustrates the shift in recent years of the environment that officers work in and the dangers they face every time they report for duty. In cities across the country, the chief said, “they’ve given away the street corners (to criminals), they’ve given away the downtown areas. Merchants are fleeing, residents are fleeing these places.

“It’s horrible to think about, but it’s the reality,” Campurciani added. 

On Peace Officers Memorial Day, in the middle of a week devoted to recognizing the work of 800,000 police officers across the country, the chief said it was a critical moment in the history of the United States.

“America has to decide what they want from themselves, what kind of society they want to live in, what does it look like to them — and that may be different for different people,” Campurciani said, “but they’ve got to make a decision. Because if they don’t, we’re doing to have more chairs in here” honoring fallen officers.

“That’s a shame.”

During Wednesday’s ceremony, the MPD Honor Guard presented the Colors and placed a wreath in honor of the fallen officers. Laura Roach delivered a stirring rendition of “The National Anthem” and Mayor Chris Carney read a proclamation in honor of National Police Week. Senior Firefighter Jordan Dumford played “Amazing Grace” and Tristan Sneary played “Taps.”

Marlo Mikeal, president of the Exchange Club of Mooresville/Lake Norman, served as master of ceremonies. Rev. David Giles and Rev. Terry Cherry offered the invocation and benediction, respectively.

In his remarks, the police chief stressed that MPD officers and their peers across the country don’t go to work every day for recognition.

“Police officers don’t want badges, they don’t want ribbons, they don’t want medals. They just want people to understand. We’re pretty simple. We really are,” Campurciani said.

“They just want people to understand that when we miss holidays and birthdays and anniversaries and baseball games and soccer matches — that you appreciate that we do that. And regardless of where America goes, we’re still going to be there. Whatever happens, no matter how upside down it may get, you can still count on us — for law enforcement to be there.”

Photos

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