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'What you do matters' | Newport News honors fallen officers, including Katie Thyne

Officer Katie Thyne was killed in 2020 in the line of duty. Two years later, her family said her smile will live on forever.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Monday night, the Newport News Police Department honored fallen officers, including Officer Katie Thyne.

As the bagpipes played, family and sacrifice were the words to describe the 12 lives lost within the department in the last 100 years. Most recently, Thyne in 2020.

"We’ll never forget these 12. They’re part of our family and always will be," said Police Chief Steve Drew.

Thyne was killed after responding to a call about two people smoking marijuana in a car near the Monitor-Merrimac Overlook area on Jan. 23, 2020.

The incident turned deadly when the driver, Vernon Green, refused to follow officers' orders, hit the gas and tried to take off from the scene. Thyne was right by the driver's side window and Green dragged her with the car. She died after the car crashed into a tree.

RELATED: 'A true hero' | Newport News police mourn, honor officer killed after being dragged by car

It’s something her family and her brothers and sisters in blue are still mourning.

"None of us know what tomorrow brings," Drew said.

Credit: WVEC

Dr. Shane Jensen was the trauma surgeon on call that night. He said he and his team prepped for the incoming officer, just as they would any other patient. They did all they could, but in the end, they couldn't save her.

Jensen said he will always remember the family and officers hoping for good news. But sadly, he couldn’t offer any.

"I excused myself as I’d done dozens of times before to allow family time and space to grieve," he said.

While celebrating Thyne’s life and dedication to making her community safer, Drew took the opportunity to thank his officers and the recruits who are about to join the force.

"I thank you for your service to come. I thank you for choosing this agency. I love you guys. What you do matters," Drew said with tears in his eyes.

Thyne’s wife, Whitlee Thyne, said it means a lot to her and their daughter, Raegan, that so many people came together to honor her life two years later. 

Whitlee also said Thyne would want people to live their lives in a way that makes the world better and her smile will live on forever.

Green pleaded guilty to federal firearm and drug charges and is currently serving 10 years. A grand jury indicted him on second-degree murder charges last year.

You can view the entire ceremony by clicking here.

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