TOPEKA, Kan. -- Law enforcement officers from across Kansas gathered in the state Capitol to honor three officers killed in the line of duty during the last year.
All three are from the Kansas side of the metro area.
Two are from the Kansas City, Kan., police department. Officer Brad Lancaster was shot and killed a year ago this month near the Hollywood Casino.
About two months later, Captain Robert Melton was shot and killed while searching for armed suspects in his city.
And finally, Johnson County sheriff's deputy Brandon Collins died after a truck slammed into his patrol car during a traffic stop in September, causing it to erupt in flames.
All three names will be added this year, to the Kansas Law Enforcement Monument on the grounds of the Capitol.
"It’s a great honor for us," said Undersheriff Doug Bedford of Johnson County, Kan. "Brandon Collins, he was the officer that we lost this past September. He was very highly respected. We loved everything about him. The best thing we can do is come honor him like this and be with his family at this time."
The crowd at the Capitol moved outside for a wreath laying ceremony to remember the fallen officers at the Kansas Law Enforcement Monument. 135 officers were killed in the line of duty last year, the highest number in our nation in five years.
A non-profit that supports families of officers killed in the line of duty has launched Project Blue Ribbon, tying blue ribbons to vehicles in tribute to officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.