INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Independence, Missouri community is recognizing its officers who’ve died in the line of duty.

The year 2021 was a tough year for the department. It lost officers in August and September.

Sgt. John Bullard died from COVID-19 in August and almost a month later, Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a wanted man.

The special ceremony is held every year in May.

For the past 20 years the department held the ceremony, but never had to add names on their police memorial for the event until this year.

“You always think about everything that happened, so I don’t think it gets any easier, but it gives a little closure every year that you can honor these fallen officers,” IPD spokesperson Jack Taylor, said.

For the first time Wednesday, their names were read during the Police Memorial Ceremony.

Their family members were there to show their support and see their names revealed on the memorial in front of the department building.

“I think it’s really important to honor the officers that have served and sacrificed their lives for the citizens in the community and to protect the city,” Taylor said. “I think it’s particularly in this and age I think it’s important to recognize that and to honor that.”