Hendersonville leaders voted on first reading recently to spend up to $25,000 so that the family of MPO Spencer Bristol, as well as a handful of local officers, can attend events in May at the National Law Enforcement Police Memorial.
Bristol, 31, died Dec. 30 after being struck by a vehicle on I-65 during a foot chase. He is survived by his wife Lauren and three-year-old daughter, Eloise.
Bristol was one of 135 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2109, HPD Commander Larry Daniel told members of the city’s Finance Committee on Jan. 28.
The national organization COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) starts planning the events held each year at and around the National Police Memorial in Washington, D.C., nearly a year in advance, Daniel noted. With Bristol’s death occurring at the end of 2019, Hendersonville officials needed to make reservations quickly for those planning to attend.
President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week in 1962. The week pays special tribute to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. This year’s event is May 10-16.
“It’s a very big event,” said Daniel. “We’re already behind the curve on planning and making sure our families get there to participate in this very special and solemn event for them. So, we just graciously ask that you fund this for us and help us get these family members up there.”
Daniel said that HPD is sending four motor officers to escort Bristol’s family as well as to help with other events. In addition, four of Bristol’s closest friends who worked with him on his shift will be attending.
HPD Sgt. Greg Freudenthal will continue in his capacity as Lauren Bristol’s personal escort, Daniel added. He and Commander Paul Harbsmeier also plan to attend and work during the event.
“It will be a very trying and busy week for everybody involved who will be going,” said Daniel who participated during National Police Week nearly 20 years ago following the line-of-duty death of HPD Officer Danny MacClary.
“And I can tell you for the family, it’s kind of another step of healing,” he said.
The Finance Committee recommended the funding request and sent it to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen the same night. That body voted on it unanimously. A second and final reading is scheduled for Feb. 11.