Remember the fallen
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.