Death of police officer on Tuesday brings back tragic memories for one woman

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Just one day after a Salt River Police officer died while conducting a traffic stop on Loop 101, non-profit group Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) is remembering fallen officers for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Family members are asking for folks to take the day to thank officers for all that they do. Officer Townsend is on many people's mind on Wednesday, especially within the law enforcement community. For one sergeant who lost her husband over 20 years ago, she said the incident Tuesday night brought the old memories back.

Marie Dryer-Kircher is honoring her fellow law enforcement family by wearing the color blue, and by sharing her own painful story of loss.

"At the time, we had boy/girl twins that were five years old. It was extremely difficult," said Dryer-Kircher.

Back in 1993, Dryer-Kircher's husband at the time, Sergeant Mark Dryer, was conducting a traffic stop on the I-10, about 20 miles south of Phoenix.

Dryer-Kircher remembers the exact words she said to Dryer, before he went out the door.

"Be careful."

"The individual that hit him was under the influence of drugs and alcohol," said Dryer-Kircher. "Hit the back of the patrol car, and then him."

Dryer died in the hospital, and the drunk driver was sentenced to 15 years in prison. For Dryer-Kircher, the hardest part wasn't her own grief, but trying to explain what happened to her young twins.

"As a sergeant with the Department of Public Safety, I've given death notifications before, but I have never given one to a child, let alone my own," said Dryer-Kircher.

Now, on this Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, Dryer-Kircher is not asking folks to do anything extravagant.

"Simple acts of kindness mean a lot," said Dryer-Kircher. "Just seeing someone who sees an officer in uniform. Thank you for what you do. I do the same thing for military, as I thank them for what they do."

Police survivors are also asking folks who are eligible to donate blood to honor law enforcement officers.

Vitalant (formerly United Blood Services)