RICHMOND, Ky. - Beneath a clear, blue sky and an American flag gently furling in the breeze, the state's Department of Criminal Justice Training paid tribute today to 35 Kentucky law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty by dedicating their names on the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Monument.
DOCJT dedicated the names during its annual ceremony to honor fallen officers and dedicate the names of those who have been added to the memorial monument during the year.
More than 400 family members, law enforcement officers, law enforcement recruits and others attended the ceremony at which DOCJT also rededicated the memorial at its new, more prestigious location at the agency in front of the John W. Bizzack Law Enforcement Training Complex.
Brig. Gen. Norman E. Arflack, secretary of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, was the keynote speaker at the event.
"There is no ceremony that can pay absolute tribute to those among us who have fallen in the line of duty, but this is surely a wonderful day of remembrance for those individuals," said Arflack, who is a former law enforcement officer. "These are brave officers who placed the needs of others before those of their own - selfless individuals who went out daily doing what they thought was right, providing safety and security for all of us to live, work and raise a family. These individuals exemplify the dangers of our chosen profession."
Of the 35 names that were added to the monument this year and dedicated at the ceremony, three are those of officers who were killed in 2006.
Constable Elmer Kiser of Carter County died Sept. 27, 2006 from wounds he received when a reckless driver he had been following assaulted him. Kiser was in his personal vehicle when the driver passed his and another vehicle on a curve, forcing the other vehicle off the roadway. The constable radioed a local police officer for backup as he followed the driver. Minutes later, a passerby reported to 911 that a wounded man was lying on the road. The man was Kiser. Kiser was transported to a local hospital and then to a trauma center, where he remained until he succumbed to his injuries.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Jonathan Leonard died Dec. 19, 2006 from injuries he sustained in a vehicle accident in Pike County. His cruiser and another vehicle collided as he was on his way to respond to a domestic violence call. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Bowling Green Police Officer David Whitson was shot and killed Oct. 31, 2006 after he and two other officers responded to a call about a man brandishing a knife. Whitson became engaged in a struggle with the suspect, who was armed with two knives. The other officers used deadly force against the suspect, and Whitson and the suspect suffered fatal gunshot wounds.
"Kentucky and the nation are blessed to have individuals like the 35 officers whose names have been added to the memorial this year," Gov. Ernie Fletcher said. "They were willing to put their lives on the line to protect us, to protect our communities, and risk leaving behind their own families. For that, they are our heroes, and we are so thankful to them and their brave families. These officers' names will live on forever on the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial, as they should. I encourage my fellow Kentuckians to visit this fitting monument that honors all of our fallen officers and hope for a time in which we never have to add another name."
The other 32 lawmen whose names were dedicated at the memorial ceremony were killed in the line of duty between 1883 and 2001, but their names weren't added to the national memorial until recently. The criterion for having a name placed on the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial is that it be on the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
Those officers are:
Marshal Harlan Taylor, Morganfield Police Department, died Dec. 23, 1883. Taylor, 21, was shot to death while attempting to arrest a man for public intoxication.
Officer James Edgar, Newport Police Department, died Nov. 17, 1884. Edgar, age not available, died from a gunshot wound he received four days earlier when he and his partner attempted to arrest five men who were burglarizing a store.
Officer Charles Evans, Mount Sterling Police Department, died Aug. 15, 1895. Evans, age not available, died from a gunshot wound he received a day earlier as he and another officer were investigating a disturbance at a local saloon.
Deputy Sheriff William C. Brown, Hancock County Sheriff's Office, died May 22, 1905. A suspect who had shot and wounded a Lewisport town marshal and several other men the previous day shot Brown to death. His age was not available.
Chief Jon C. Tarpy, Winchester Police Department, died April 2, 1907. Tarpy, age not available, died from gunshot wounds he received a week earlier when he and several officers attempted to arrest a man suspected of being involved in several burglaries.
Deputy Sheriff Andy Downs, McCreary County Sheriff's Office, died July 4, 1907. Downs, age not available, was shot to death as he attempted to arrest a man suspected of running an illegal drinking establishment.
City Marshal John C. Coomer, Burnside Police Department, died Oct. 1, 1913. Coomer, 52, died from a gunshot wound he received several days earlier after arresting a drunken man at a railroad station.
Deputy Sheriff Frank Dulin, Spencer County Sheriff's Office, died Oct. 4, 1916. Dulin, 26, was shot to death after arresting a man who had shot the deputy's father-in-law the previous week.
Sgt. Christopher Kolhoven, Newport Police Department, died July 11, 1917. Kolhoven, age not available, was shot to death while attempting to arrest three drunken and disorderly men who had attempted to steal milk from a local saloon keeper.
Town Marshal James Melvin, Paintsville Police Department, died Aug. 26, 1921. Melvin, age not available, was shot to death while searching for an illegal still.
Sheriff John T. Roach, Graves County Sheriff's Office, died March 6, 1922. A disgruntled former employee shot Roach to death. His age was not available.
Deputy Sheriff Kelly Walker, Leslie County Sheriff's Office, died March 28, 1923. Walker, 30, was shot to death as he and other prohibition officers served warrants at a home to search for illegal stills.
Deputy Sheriff J. Farris Ball, McCreary County Sheriff's Office, died Dec. 14, 1923. An unknown person shot Ball, 35, to death as he was attempting to arrest two suspects.
Officer Anthony Siemon, Newport Police Department, died April 22, 1924. Siemon, 30, died from stab wounds he received 23 days earlier as he attempted to arrest two brothers.
City Marshal Hiram Gregory, Burnside Police Department, died April 23, 1926. Gregory, 50, was shot to death while attempting to arrest a man for being drunk in public.
City Marshal Charlie Wright, Burnside Police Department, died Nov. 15, 1926. Wright, 49, was shot to death while attempting to arrest a man for public drunkeness.
Deputy Sheriff Jesse Fulton, Letcher County Sheriff's Office, died Aug. 21, 1927. Fulton, 39, was shot to death while attempting to make an arrest.
Deputy Sheriff Oliver Slaven, McCreary County Sheriff's Office, died May 9, 1920. Slaven, 40, was shot to death while attempting to arrest an escaped prisoner.
Deputy Sheriff James Owens, Lewis County Sheriff's Office, died Nov. 6, 1928. Owens, 46, was shot to death after breaking up a fight between two juveniles at a local school. He was posted at the school to keep peace during an election.
Marshal Francis L. Abell, Morganfield Police Department, died Feb. 16, 1929. Abell, 50, was shot to death as he attempted to arrest a suspect.
Officer Poley L. Faulkner, Winchester Police Department, died Nov. 7, 1929. Faulkner, 67, was shot to death when he and two officers attempted to arrest a man for drunk and disorderly conduct.
Officer Jesse B. Dills, Paintsville Police Department, died Dec. 21, 1929. An individual who held a grudge against Dills, 39, for a previous arrest shot him to death.
Constable Leo R. Mann, Russell County, died Sept. 13, 1931. Mann, 37, was shot to death while attempting to arrest a man for creating a disturbance.
Deputy Sheriff James W. Hogue, McCreary County Sheriff's Office, died Nov. 5, 1931. Hogue, 41, was shot to death after making an arrest while on a liquor-still raid with two other deputies.
Deputy Sheriff Fred Adams, Johnson County Sheriff's Office, died Sept. 16, 1939. Adams, 65, was shot to death while attempting to break up a fight at a local beer parlor.
Constable William R. Coop, Clinton County, died Sept. 17, 1947. Coop, age not available, was shot to death as he and two other constables attempted to serve a warrant to search a home for illegal liquor.
Chief Deputy George T. Fisher, Bell County Sheriff's Office, died Dec. 17, 1940. Fisher, 58, was shot to death as he and three other officers attempted to serve a warrant on a man wanted for robbery.
Officer Jesse Starks, Benton Police Department, died Nov. 30, 1948. Starks, 46, was shot to death after responding to a disturbance call at a local theater.
Deputy Sheriff Grover D. Kennedy, McCreary County Sheriff's Office, died March 25, 1949. Kennedy, 50, was shot to death in an ambush while he was on patrol.
Deputy Sheriff Bill Miller, Magoffin County Sheriff's Office, died Dec. 25, 1951. Miller, 46, was shot to death as he attempted to arrest a murder suspect.
Constable William A. Boyatt, McCreary County, died Dec. 7, 1960. Boyatt, 41, was shot to death as he approached four individuals in a vehicle who he suspected of bootlegging.
Sgt. William J. Collins Jr., Hardin County Sheriff's Office, died June 9, 2001. A mentally deranged man who had stalked and ambushed Collins, 48, shot him to death.
More information on the officers is available at The Officer Down Memorial Page at www.odmp.org.
The Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Monument is the only monument in the commonwealth that recognizes all Kentucky peace officers who have been killed in the line of duty. This year's additions bring the total number of names on the monument to 382.
Two Kentucky law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty this year, and their names will be added to the memorial in 2008. Barren County Constable Ronnie K. Jones was killed April 2 when a vehicle struck his patrol car. Clay City Police Chief Randy Lacy was shot and killed June 13 by a prisoner he was transporting.
The monument, which was dedicated in 2000, was moved this year from in front of the Funderburk Building at DOCJT to its new location in front of the Bizzack complex, which is near the previous site. The monument had to be moved because it had reached its capacity for names, so the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation decided to give the monument a bigger and more fitting location in the move. The monument is now set in a grassy area with amphitheater seating.
The memorial foundation was established in 1999 to build the unique memorial. Once the memorial was completed in 2000, the organization expanded its efforts to include an ongoing financial endowment program, which helps Kentucky peace officers and their families with educational, medical and emergency needs.