11th annual salute to Chad Spicer: Fallen Georgetown patrolman honored at ceremony

In the annual Sept. 1 event honoring fallen Georgetown Patrolman Chad Spicer, Georgetown officers salute as Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes, Aubrey Spicer (Patrolman Spicer’s daughter) and Ruth Ann Spicer (Chad’s mother) carry the wreath to the memorial monument on The Circle Tuesday evening. Patrolman Spicer died in the line of duty Sept. 1, 2009. Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe

GEORGETOWN — Eleven years have passed since that tragic night that marked Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer’s end of watch.

On Sept. 1, 2009, Patrolman Spicer was shot and killed as he and his patrol partner attempted to stop a vehicle that had been involved in a shooting a short time earlier. He was 29.

A caring community continues to share in the heartbreak and offer open-arm support to Patrolman Spicer’s daughter, Aubrey, now 14, and his mother, Ruth Ann Spicer.

“This does my heart good to see this crowd being here tonight to represent and to pay respect to an individual that gave his life for doing his job,” said Georgetown Mayor Bill West, among the speakers Tuesday evening before a gathering of more than 100 people for the annual wreath ceremony at memorial monument on The Circle honoring Patrolman Spicer.

The memorial monument on The Circle saluting Georgetown Police Patrolman Chad Spicer, who died in the line of duty on Sept. 1, 2009.

“I want to thank all of you for coming and showing support to Ruth Ann and to Aubrey,” said Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes. “And you may not realize this, but it also is great support for me and for the law enforcement as well.”

“It is so hard to believe that it has been 11 years. It seems like yesterday,” said Ms. Spicer. “Then also it seems like it has been 100 years since I saw him, since he kissed me, since he put his arms around me and gave me one of those big hugs, since he brought me coffee to my work … and all the things that he did that were just so crazy. You know Chad; he was always doing something out of the ordinary.”

“Ruth Ann, Aubrey … we love you to death,” Mayor West said. “We lost a brother. We lost a son. We lost a police officer. Nobody should have to go through this. We’re never going to forget this. And we will be here until the day I die. And I think a lot of these people here will be also. This means something to you. It means something to law enforcement. It means something to the town of Georgetown.”

State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn remembered back 11 years ago.

“I’m looking around and seeing some of the faces of the people that I saw that night, on Sept. 1, 2009, who were here in town in the days and weeks following that event,” said Sen. Pettyjohn. “Chad’s memory is not going to fade from this town. I can see Chad’s memory in everybody that is out here tonight. This is what Georgetown is all about. This is what our community is all about. We came together then. We came together 11 years ago. We’ve come together every year since.”

Delaware State Police, at left, and town of Georgetown police, right, line the walkway to the Chad Spicer memorial monument as Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes speaks Tuesday evening at the annual wreath ceremony.

Tuesday evening’s ceremony came amid a divided America, unrest punctuated by protests and calls in some cities and municipalities for police defunding, countered by steadfast support for law enforcement.

Ms. Spicer supports law enforcement, saying it is vital to everyone.

“If we don’t stand up for our law enforcement today, who is going to be there when you call 9-1-1? Do you think it’s going to be a social worker? I don’t think so. It’s going to be our law enforcement,” said Ms. Spicer. “Our law enforcement needs to be recognized every day. They go out to serve and protect us every day and they need to be recognized. They need to be praised. They have sleepless nights. They have days that they go from one shift to another because someone couldn’t make it in to work.
“We need to be here for our law enforcement,” Ms. Spicer added. “They are the backbone of our community.”

Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, right, gestures to Ruth Ann Spicer, left, and her granddaughter Aubrey Spicer during the wreath ceremony saluting fallen Georgetown Patrolman Chad Spicer, who died in the line of duty on Sept. 1, 2009.

Mayor West focused on the country today.

“And as we look across the country, we see there are probably going to be more of these, because there are a lot of officers that are losing their jobs and losing their lives. They shouldn’t,” Mayor West said. “They are being treated wrongly and we’ve got to come together as one and try to get this country headed back in the right direction. Right now, it is heading in the worst direction there is.”

Derrick Powell, the man found guilty of firing the shot that took Patrolman Spicer’s life, is serving a life sentence. Powell’s death sentence was vacated by the Delaware Supreme Court in December 2016.

Ms. Spicer closed by offering heartfelt thanks to the police and fire company brotherhood that has supported her family over the years.

“Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I can’t thank you enough for being here, for Aubrey and me,” said Ms. Spicer. “Aubrey was the apple of her daddy’s eye. Now, she is the apple of everybody’s eye. We just go on, thanking God and thanking everyone for helping us to get through these tough times.”