No matter the uniform color, make and model of squad car or jurisdiction, thousands of police officers wore a black mourning band across their badge in unity to pay homage to Prince George’s County Police Department’s 27th officer killed in the line of duty.
Police Officer Adrian Morris, 23, of Laurel was killed Aug. 20 in a fatal cruiser crash while pursuing two auto theft suspects on I-95 in Beltsville.
A funeral service was held at Woodstream Church in Mitchellville on Tuesday where thousands of law enforcement officers from around the region turned out to honor the officer and celebrate his life.
Morris, who was promoted to Officer First Class as part of county police procedure when an officer is killed in the line of duty, was born in Jamaica and migrated to the United States when he was 6 years old. He later attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt and was enrolled in their Air Force Junior Recruit Officer Training Corps. He became a police officer after graduating from the police academy in 2010. Prior to that he spent five years as an “Explorer” in the county police department’s Explorers Program, a department-led effort to exposure youth to law enforcement careers, according to Police Chief Mark Magaw.
Many of the remarks and reflections given during the ceremony recalled Morris as being a “little brother” and someone who had a “passion for policing.”
“There are two sides of me that are wearing on me right now. My human side is mourning... But my spiritual side rejoices because he’s moved on,” said county police officer Michael Owens. “I want us to talk about all of the good things that went right. I want to talk about his smile. I’ll never forget it.”
Magaw said Morris was a motivator to his entire academy class.
“He distinguished himself as a hard-working police officer who was always going above and beyond what was required of him,” Magaw said. “The Prince George’s police department is a better police department because of Adrian.”
Magaw said he has a very small plaque displayed in his office that he turns to for encouragement. He said it states a Bible verse from the Matthew, Chapter 5.
“Blessed are the peacemakers that they should be called the children of God,” he said. “Blessed are we and blessed is Adrian.”
County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) gave remarks during the ceremony along with Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Dist. 5) of Mechanicsville.
“His memory will illuminate our lives for years to come,” Baker said. “A loss is never easy and a loss of someone so young is devastating.”
Fraternal Order of Police President Vince Canales read a list of names of the other 26 county police officers who previously died in the line of duty, noting that Morris is among the youngest.
The Law Enforcement Choir of the Montgomery County Police Department sang a song and two officers including Officer Michael Risher, who was in Morris’ cruiser at the time of the crash, lit four candles symbolizing grief, courage, memory and love.
Linval Crosdale, Morris’ uncle, said in addition to having a passion for law enforcement, he enjoyed video games, soccer, basketball and was always adventurous.
“My sister [Morris’ mother] is grateful for the response by the police department and overwhelmed by the huge support of the police community,” he said. “We will carry the memory of Adrian in our hearts.”
Following the funeral ceremony, Morris' body was taken to Lakemount Memorial Park Cemetery in Davidsonville to be buried.