FORT WAYNE – The Indiana State Police Fort Wayne Post held their annual memorial service Wednesday, paying tribute to the forty-seven Indiana State Police employees who have died in the line of duty since the department’s inception in 1933.
Since the early days of the Indiana State Police, memorial services have been held at all Indiana State Police Posts during the month of May. The memorial services are a way of paying tribute and remembering the ultimate sacrifice paid by state police employees who died while serving and protecting the citizens and visitors of Indiana. These services are also for the family members of the fallen heroes, reaffirming our commitment that their sacrifice as well as the sacrifice of their departed loved ones will never be forgotten.
Normally these services are held outdoors in proximity to each Posts memorial headstone, however, due to in-climate weather, Wednesday’s ceremony was held indoors. The service started with the troop formation called to attention and ISP Chaplain Daniel Coffey opening with a word of prayer. Captain Kevin Smith, Area II Commander for the Indiana State Police, began a roll call of the fallen employees. Lieutenant Corey Culler, District Commander of the Fort Wayne Post, followed each name with a brief description of what led to the fallen employees’ final call. The solemn ceremony ended with the playing of Taps by an ISP Honor Guard bugler.
Since the agency’s inception in 1933, there have been five ISP troopers that have died in the line of duty here in the (current) Fort Wayne Post eleven county region:
- Trooper Richard F. England, Columbia City, IN (Ligonier Post) died April 22, 1942, near Kimmel from injuries sustained during an automobile crash.
- Trooper Donald R. Turner, Auburn, IN, (Ligonier Post) died January 28, 1956, near Auburn, from injuries after he was struck by a passing vehicle while assisting a wrecker operator.
- Trooper Robert J. Garrison, Montpelier, IN, (Redkey Post) died December 14, 1959, near Daleville, from injuries sustained in an automobile crash.
- Master Trooper David A. Deuter, Angola, IN (Toll Road Post) died July 16, 1998, in LaGrange County after being struck by a semi-tractor trailer while conducting a traffic stop along the Indiana Toll Road.
- Trooper Cory R. Elson, Fort Wayne, IN (Fort Wayne Post) died April 3, 1999, in Decatur, when a driver opened fire on him with an automatic rifle during a traffic stop on US27.
In addition to the traditional memorial service ceremony, in honor of fallen Trooper Cory R. Elson, there was also a special proclamation and roadway dedication presented by the Allen County Commissioners.
Commissioner Therese Brown read the proclamation alongside Amy Elson-Belch and Lori (Elson) Scott- widow and sister (respectively) of deceased Trooper Cory Elson. The proclamation declared May 18, 2022, as “Trooper Cory Elson Day” here in Allen County, and then also declared the stretch of Ellison Road which runs in front of the Fort Wayne Post, as “Trooper Cory R. Elson Memorial Way”.
The command staff here at the Fort Wayne Post would like to thank all of our guests in attendance today, especially the family members of our fallen, our ISP retirees, fellow uniformed officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department, Adams County Sheriff’s Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and all others that were able to join us today.
The Indiana State Police will always remember, forever honor, and respect those that serve in their memory.
For a complete listing of Indiana State Police employees who died in the line of duty, visit the Indiana State Police website at www.in.gov/isp/about-isp/in-memoriam/.