CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- To start National Police Week, Charlottesville police officers held a memorial to recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 137 officers died in the line of duty in the United States just in 2023. Monday, Charlottesville police came together to recognize a few of their own.

“Freedom is not free. And these officers, every day, put their life on the line to protect us,” Mayor Juandiego Wade said. 

Charlottesville police gathered outside of City Hall to remember those who were killed in the line of duty. Chief Michael Kochis says the job presents its challenges, but they share the same honor to serve. 

“Our profession is not perfect. And we must strive to be better every day. But the men and women who put on that uniform every day, they do so with pride,” Kochis said. 

And even when facing backlash or scrutiny, Kochis says one thing will never change.

“We are still going to answer the call. We are still going to respond. And my officers will put their lives on the line for you whether there is scrutiny towards them or not,” Kochis said. 

Vice Mayor Brian Pinkston came to honor the fallen officers and says we need to remember who these people are and the sacrifices they make. 

“They are humans. They want to come into work, they want to be safe, they want to do their job to support the community and they want to go home to their families,” Pinkston said 

And hold each other accountable. 

“There doesn't have to be this dichotomy between holding police accountable but also honoring the work that they do,” Pinkston said. 

CPD recognized the three officers who have passed in the line of duty since the late 19th century, and two Virginia State Troopers who died in a helicopter crash on August 12th, 2017.