ASHLAND, Ore. — On Saturday the community is gathering to honor fallen Ashland Police Officer Malcus Williams. Ashland Police Department released information yesterday about a procession and today, law enforcement agencies shared more about the preparations for the ceremony and Celebration of Life for Officer Williams.
The procession, which marks the beginning of the ceremony, will start at 9:30 a.m. at Southern Oregon University, loop through downtown and end at Ashland High School around 11 a.m. for the Celebration of Life ceremony.
Already officials are expecting this ceremony will involve most of the town. Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara says he’s been blown away by the support so far.
“It’s incredible. I know that it’s because of the support that we’re gonna get through it and Ona and the kids and Amy and Cindy are going to get through it,” said O’Meara. “It’s through that support that I draw strength.”
Police say many people were touched by Officer Williams and they expect huge groups to come out and honor him. It’s a few days away still but Ashland police are preparing the city for what may be one of the largest ceremonies in recent memory.
“We need all the space we can get to stage all the vehicles,” said O’Meara.
Organizers originally thought the motorcade procession would have about 100 public safety vehicles. Now, they’re saying – it may be more.
“That’s probably an estimate,” said O’Meara. “My guess would be there’s gonna be more than a hundred. I think the message in that is that there’s going to be a lot of cars. The procession is probably going to be substantial.”
It won’t just be public safety from around the region either. According to Chief O’Meara, with the help of the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, word of the procession has reached across the country.
“I would guess we’re gonna have some from Washington, Idaho, California. You know, the close by states,” said O’Meara. “Yhere are likely to be some representatives, not with cars but in uniform from around the country and possibly even from Canada.”
Ashland police will also be giving time for the family to be alone before the Celebration of Life starts, after which the public is invited to share the memories of one beloved by the community.
“It’s gonna be a fully formal honor guard ceremony to honor Malcus and it’ll be a nice tribute to him and nice showing of support for the community and for the family,” said O’Meara.
Police say if you’re driving in the area between 9:30 a.m and 11 a.m. on Saturday, you can expect road closures and delays. The public will not be allowed in the procession but are asked to show their support by lining the streets. If you plan to attend the procession or ceremony, you’re asked to find alternative transportation as streets could be overcrowded.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.