Re­mem­ber the fallen

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

keep us safe, and some­times in per­form­ing their duty, they pay the ul­ti­mate price.

This week is Na­tional Po­lice Week, a week orig­i­nally pro­claimed by Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy in 1962. On Sun­day, Peace Of­fi­cers Memo­rial Day was cel­e­brated in Washington, D.C., kick­ing off the re­mem­brance of fallen of­fi­cers around the coun­try.

In Charles County, the sher­iff’s of­fice has seen six of­fi­cers die while per­form­ing their du­ties. Deputy Sher­iff Lawrence H. McPar­lin was killed while try­ing to serve a war­rant in Washington, D.C., on May 12, 1918. Pa­trol­man First Class Den­nis L. Ri­ley was killed when a trac­tor-trailer over­turned on his cruiser on Jan. 11, 1977. Sgt. Fran­cis “Leo” Yates suf­fered a fa­tal heart at­tack while leav­ing the Charles County Court­house on June 8, 1988. Sgt. Joseph E. Stine Jr. suf­fered a fa­tal heart at­tack on May 12, 1990, af­ter trans­port­ing an un­ruly pris­oner to the Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter. Sgt. Timothy C. Mi­nor was killed af­ter a ve­hi­cle pulled in front of him while he was re­spond­ing to a call on his po­lice mo­tor­cy­cle on Feb. 12, 1996. And most re­cently, Cpl. James L. Clagett was killed in a sin­gle-ve­hi­cle crash in King Ge­orge, Va., while re­turn­ing home from work­ing a mid­night shift on Dec. 21, 2014.

Also rec­og­nized by the sher­iff’s of­fice, Sta­tion Clerk Wil­lard C. Keesee, a civil­ian em­ployee, suf­fered a fa­tal heart at­tack while on duty at the In­dian Head Dis­trict Sta­tion on Jan. 23, 1998.

The Mary­land State Po­lice has seen three troopers die while per­form­ing du­ties in Charles County. On July 7, 1958, Lt. Leonard N. Brown was shot in the stom­ach while re­spond­ing to a holdup at a restau­rant in Bryans Road. Trooper First Class Mickey C. Lippy and Pi­lot Cpl. (Ret.) Stephen H. Bunker were both killed in a he­li­copter crash while trans­port­ing two crit­i­cally in­jured teenagers from the county.

This year, there have been 35 of­fi­cers na­tion­wide who have died in the line of duty. There were 128 to­tal line of duty deaths in 2015. It’s a dan­ger­ous job. Over the years, we’ve heard the same thing from of­fi­cers we have spo­ken with: They never know what will hap­pen when they re­spond to a call and not every day is the same. It’s a tough, stress­ful job, one that takes months of train­ing and even more years of learn­ing how to deal with dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions and per­son­al­i­ties. Quite of­ten, of­fi­cers are see­ing peo­ple at their worst and those peo­ple lose sight that they are deal­ing with an­other hu­man be­ing who just wants to dif­fuse the sit­u­a­tion without any ca­su­al­ties.

So let’s take a mo­ment and thank the men and women who con­tinue to pro­tect and serve and of­fer up a mo­ment of si­lence to those who have put it all on the line while en­sur­ing we stay safe and sound. We salute you.

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