RICHMOND, Ky. - Her hands trembling, her smile grateful, Laurie Sticklen tightly clutched the bright, crisply-folded American flag presented to her. As her husband's name and date of death were read aloud to the mournful silence, Sticklen held the flag close to her heart, her recent grief still weighing on her tiny frame.
"Friends this is a solemn occasion," said James Korpik, Alexandria Police chaplain and colleague of Sticklen's husband, James P. Sticklen. "We are taught that greater love has no one than to lay down one's life for another. . These mentioned today died in the line of what we call duty, and what they believe was their special calling and service. They offered life itself so that we could live in safety and security."
James Sticklen was one of 16 officers honored Tuesday during the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial's 13th annual ceremony. 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 501.
Sticklen and Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Timothy Briggs both died in 2011. The other 14 officers were killed in the line of duty between 1869 and 1964.
Sticklen had served the Alexandria Police Department for 19 years, most recently as a school resource officer. He suffered a fatal heart attack as the result of injuries he sustained after being kicked in the leg while restraining a juvenile. He suffered a pulmonary embolism when a blood clot broke free from the injured leg. In addition to his wife, Sticklen is survived by his three children.
Briggs was jogging with another agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in London, Ky. when he suffered a fatal heart attack. Despite efforts to resuscitate him, Briggs did not survive the attack. He, too, is survived by his wife and three children.
Briggs spent 14 years with the FBI and had a reputation for being a passionate investigator. He won national awards for a drug case that led to more than 60 convictions on drug, vote-buying and corruption charges stemming from Clay County's then-corrupt political circles.
"It is indicative of their dedication that both men died while seeking to improve their skills and knowledge, their ability to handle crises that can erupt in a split second on any given day," said Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson. "With unflinching resolve and disregard for their own safety, they and the other 499 officers named on this monument have carried on a tradition of loyalty and duty that has literally become the badge of honor for all law enforcement officers throughout the history of the commonwealth."
Those historical officers whose names were added to the memorial today are:
Sheriff Thomas W. Napier, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, died Sept.18, 1869
Patrolman George E. Roberts, Louisville Police Department, died July 7, 1890
Town Marshal Edward Thompson, Hardinsburg Police Department, died Dec.18, 1890
Officer John J. Sullivan, Lexington Division of Police, died May 22, 1897
Officer George Pollard, Lancaster Police Department, died April 23, 1906
Town Marshal John A. Collins, Berea Police Department, died Aug. 23, 1914
Deputy Walter N. Campbell, Perry County Sheriff's Office, died Sept. 23, 1921
Deputy Miles Hall, Letcher County Sheriff's Office, died Nov. 1, 1921
Deputy Arthur W. Bowman, Hart County Sheriff's Office, died April 30, 1931
Chief Harvey C. Dezarn, Manchester Police Department, died Aug.9, 1936
Patrolman Mose H. Littrell, Kentucky Highway Patrol, died March 14, 1938
Chief George Dickey, Cynthiana Police Department, died July 29, 1939
Deputy Jerry Stamper, Perry County Sheriff's Office, died March 4, 1950
Officer Leonard J. Garrison, Paris Police Department, died March 30, 1964
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.