Charles County Sheriff ’s Office honors fallen heroes
National Police Week honors those who lost their lives while on duty
In commemoration of National Police Week, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office is honoring six fallen heroes who were killed or died in the line of duty: Cpl. Jamel Clagett, Sgt. Timothy C. Minor, Sgt. Joseph E. Stine, Jr., Sgt. Francis “Leo” Yates, Patrolman First Class Dennis L. Riley, and Patrolman Lawrence H. McParlin.
“During this somber time we are reminded of our calling as police officers to protect and serve at any cost. This week we pause to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of others,” said Sheriff Troy Berry (D) in an announcement. “… Our hearts are with their families as we honor their memory this week.”
The agency suffered its most recent loss with the death of Clagett, a patrol officer known for his conspicuous kindness. On Dec. 21, 2014, Clagett was killed in a single-vehicle accident on his way home after working a midnight patrol shift. A Thomas Stone High School graduate, Clagett spent 10 years at the sheriff’s office and received numerous letters of appreciations, accommodations and awards, including a Governor’s Citation for Outstanding Efforts in Crime Prevention and Home Security.
“Jamel was a great policeman who cared about his community and valued his fellow workers. He was known for his kindness,” Berry said on the day of the accident. “In fact, his last act this morning — after working an eight hour overnight shift — was buying breakfast at a local restaurant and dropping it off to our midnight communications staff, whom he considered family.”
Clagett was survived by his mother, two brothers, and a sister.
Minor, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was killed on Feb. 12, 1996, when a van pulled in front of his police motorcycle as he responded to a call for service near Cobb Island.
“Throughout his career, Tim served with distinction,” reads his obituary. “Co-workers remember him as a large, charismatic man, who was quick to smile and slow to anger. At 6’ 4”, he towered over the majority of others, but this giant of a man was also as gentle as a lamb … He will be deeply missed by all who knew him and by the community for which he gave his life.”
Minor was survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, who now works as a corrections officer at the Charles County Detention Center.
Stine’s watch ended on May 12, 1990, when he suffered a fatal heart attack after arresting a disorderly subject. Stine was survived by his wife, two children and three step children.
Yates died of a heart attack as he left the Charles County Courthouse on June 8, 1988. He was survived his wife and four children.
Riley, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, was killed in a crash at the intersection of Route 228 and U.S. 301 in Waldorf. Riley was stopped at a red light when a tractor-trailer skidded to a stop and overturned onto his cruiser, killing him instantly. Riley was survived by his wife and four children.
McParlin was shot and killed by a man as he attempted to serve a witness
summons in Washington, D.C., in 1918. Unknown to McParlin, the man was wanted for murder in South Carolina. He is the first officer to have died in the line of duty in the known history of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. For nearly a century, officers recounted the story of his sacrifice, though there was little known about McParlin, not even a photograph to put a face to a name. However, in 2012 the cousin of McParlin’s wife contacted the sheriff’s office and informed Lt. Edward Godwin, who unofficially
served as the agency’s historian before his retirement, of his final resting place.
“It immediately sparked my personal interest and I became consumed to learn more about this man and his service to this fine organization,” Godwin said in a 2013 press release.
Over the next several months, Godwin continued to uncover more information about the fallen officer and eventually obtained photographs of McParlin after mailing about a dozen letters to possible descendants discovered through
his tireless search.
It was learned that McParlin was survived by his wife, daughter, father, three brothers and two sisters. He is buried at Hartland Central Cemetery in Hartland, N.Y.
A detailed historical account of McParlin’s life, and information about the other officers, can be found on the sheriff’s office website: www.ccso.us/about/fallen-heroes.
This week, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office is commemorating the lives of the six sworn officers who died in the line of duty during National Police Week.