The follow-up documentary to last year’s Heroes Behind the Badge is set to return next month to Wilson County.
Through the collaborative efforts of local law enforcements agencies, “Heroes Behind the Badge: Sacrifice & Survival” is set to show April 11 at 7 p.m. at The Journey Church on Leeville Pike in Lebanon.
The documentary, which features real stories of brave officers who have laid down their lives in the line of duty, will help raise funds and awareness for fallen law enforcement officers and their families. Part of the proceeds will go to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund. The remaining proceeds will go to Middle and East Tennessee Concerns of Police Survivors, which helps families of fallen officers with services such as counseling, summer camps, financial support and more.
Det. David Stolinsky with Mt. Juliet police said Mt Juliet and Lebanon police, as well as the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, have been involved with METNCOPS since 2004 when it came to Cedars of Lebanon State Park for its annual picnic.
The departments help families of fallen officers throughout Middle and East Tennessee and each year members of the departments also go to the memorial in Washington D.C. in May to recognize fallen officers during National Police Week. Around 50,000-60,000 officers from around the world attend each year.
Last year, the families of an officer killed in Memphis and an officer killed in Cleveland joined them on the trip.
Last year also served as the 10-year anniversary of the deaths of Mt. Juliet Sgt. Jerry Mundy and Wilson County Deputy John Musice. Musice and Mundy were killed on July 9, 2003, while they were attempting to stop a stolen vehicle on Interstate 40 in Mt. Juliet.
Stolinsky said Musice and Mundy had their names put on the memorial wall in 2004, when he and area agencies knew little about National Police Week.
“It was like being in first gear when we needed to be in fifth gear,” Stolinsky said.
However, after teaming up with METNCOPS and multiple agencies, awareness and funds have steadily grown each year to continue to make the trips to D.C. easier, as well as help facilitate events like last year’s documentary.
As a fundraiser, Stolinsky, as well as Det. Jay Spicer with Lebanon police, spearheaded the first screening of the documentary last year, which also included a silent auction, equipment displays, fellowship, demonstrations and guest speakers.
Last year’s March screening of Heroes Behind the Badge in Lebanon was one of the first times the documentary appeared in the southeastern United States and, so far, Lebanon is the only site in Tennessee that will play host to the follow-up film this year.
Spicer and Stolinsky both said they hope that they can continue to hold the event every year.
Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen said he was thrilled with the wonderful turnout and response of the event last year, and he hopes that it will continue to grow each year.
“The film gives a behind the scenes look at what officers go through and what could happen anytime,” Bowen said. “It’s something all the area agencies want to do jointly to help out and show what we go through when tragedy happens. We’re blessed we don’t have more, but two in 11 years is too many.”
Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick said through working with all of these agencies and families, it helps to keep the legacies of fallen officers alive.
“Often times families think these officers are forgotten, I’m a witness that doesn’t happen,” Hambrick said.
Sheriff Robert Bryan also echoed Hambrick’s remarks.
“We wish it would never happen here or anywhere, but when it does we want to remember the families and never forget the officers,” Bryan said. “We want to have these kind of fundraisers so we can continue to send the families of these fallen officers to D.C. and we hope it continues to grow and get bigger every year.”
Spicer also said to further promote the event in April he and another officer worked with “Talking Lead,” a podcast in Middle Tennessee. He said they plan on taping their show March 27 to go on iTunes and hopefully one more on the day of the event.
According to Stolinsky, the reason for the event was “two-fold,” and was in place to help raise money, as well as educate the community.
“It’s a completely different documentary, but it still shows the realities faced and so we want to bring awareness of those realities and the seriousness of this job we do everyday,” Hambrick said. “Unfortunately things can happen when we’re sending men and women out there everyday. It’s like the title says, it’s sacrifice.”
Tickets for the documentary event April 11 are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Advance tickets are now available at the Lebanon Police Department, the Mt. Juliet Police Department and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office. The doors open at 5:30 p.m.