Police parade on May 6
The 24th annual Aquidneck Island National Police Parade will be on Sunday, May 6, beginning at 11:50 a.m. in Middletown.
Organizers of the 2007 parade announced last week that New Bedford, Mass. police officers Joshua Fernandes, Steve Wadman and Captain Richard Spirlet will be this year's Grand Marshals.
The parade will be dedicated in memory of Deputy Sheriff Vernon Matthew (Matt) Williams and his K9 partner Diogi of the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Florida. The parade, which typically draws a spectator crowd of more than 50,000 people lining the two-mile route, honors all police officers and law enforcement agents for their dedication to duty.
To date, 45 police departments from Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island will march along with high school marching bands, police and fire departments' pipe and drums corps, the U.S. Navy Band, the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and various civic and community groups.
On December 12, 2006, New Bedford (Mass.) Police Officers Joshua Fernandes and Steve Wadman responded to a 9-1-1 call at the Foxy Lady, an entertainment club, where a heavily-armed gunman had opened fire, killing two people. During a stand-off in which the gunman fired at over 100 local law enforcement officers, Officers Fernandes and Wadman were wounded. Despite being shot in the face, Officer Fernandes managed to drive himself and Officer Wadman to the hospital. Meanwhile, Captain Richard Spirlet risked his life by using a bullet-riddled cruiser with two flat tires to create a shield and shuttle people to safety.
On September 28, 2006, Deputy Sheriff Vernon Matthew (Matt) Williams and his K9 partner Diogi of the Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office, were shot and killed while pursuing a suspect who had fled on foot during a traffic stop. A 12- year veteran of the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Williams is survived by his wife, daughter and two sons.
In addition to the Aquidneck Island National Police Parade, a weekend of events is planned. All are open to the public and advance tickets are required by calling Detective Corey Huck at 847-5767 or Gwen George 845-5714.