(INDIANAPOLIS) – A memorial ceremony will be held on May 23 at 11 a.m. in Indianapolis to remember fallen Indiana Conservation Officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the state of Indiana and its citizen.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
The ceremony will be held at the Indiana Law Enforcement and Firefighters Memorial, which is located at Government Way and Senate Avenue, next to the Statehouse.
A total of seven members of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement have died in the line of duty since its inception in 1911.
Those officers, listed with their end of watch date:
Sgt. Ed Bollman, Feb. 13, 2018
Sergeant Ed Bollman, 44, drowned while attempting to rescue in the pond at Camp Kikthawenund in Madison County.
He and a friend were ice fishing when the friend suffered a heart attack and fell into the water. Sergeant Bollman immediately attempted to rescue the man but drowned during the effort.
Sergeant Bollman had served with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for 14 years. He is survived by his wife, child, parents, brother, three sisters, and grandmother.
F/Sgt. Karl E. Kelley, April 17, 1998
First Sergeant Karl Kelley, 56, died from injuries suffered the day before during a training exercise at the Williams Dam on the East Fork White River in Lawrence County.
A boat containing two other conservation officers had overturned in turbulent waters. When Sergeant Kelley and another conservation officer attempted a rescue, their boat capsized as well. First Sergeant Kelley was rescued after being submerged for 15 minutes. He survived for 24 hours before succumbing to his injuries at University of Louisville Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
Sergeant Kelley had served with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for 28 years. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, a son, two stepsons, parents, brother, sister, four grandchildren, and two stepgrandchildren.
ICO Thomas Deniston, Oct. 16, 1990
Conservation Officer Thomas Deniston, 28, was killed in an aircraft accident at Smith Field near State Road 3 and Interstate 69 in Allen County.
Conservation Officer Deniston was traveling in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk when the aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. The plane became engulfed in flames upon impact and was nearly completely destroyed. The pilot who was a dispatcher, and a jail officer, both of the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department and off duty was also killed in the crash. Conservation Officer Deniston was investigating deer being hunted illegally and had planned on photographing duck blinds and possible waterfowl bating.
Conservation Officer Deniston had served with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for two years and was a US Air Force veteran. He was survived by his wife, four sisters, two brothers and parents.
ICO James D. Pitzer, May 27, 1958
Conservation Officer James Pitzer 54, was shot and killed while investigating two men who were illegally hunting rabbits in Jay County.
One of the men was a recent parolee who served 31 years for murder and feared he would be sent back to prison. He then shot and killed Conservation Officer Pitzer, who died instantly from a single shotgun blast which struck him in the head. There was no indication of a robbery, but Conservation Officer Pitzer’s .38-caliber service revolver had been ripped from its holster and was not found at the scene.
Conservation Officer Pitzer had served with the Indiana Department of Conservation for 20 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
The Indiana Division of Natural Resources – Division of Law Enforcement’s highest commendation award is named the Pitzer Award in honor Officer Pitzer and is awarded annually.
Game Warden William J. Nattkemper, April 27, 1926
Warden William J. Peare, April 27, 1926.
Game Warden William Nattkemper, 58, and Game Warden William Peare, 62, drowned in the Wabash River at Tecumseh, north of Terre Haute, after their boat took on water and capsized.
The two wardens, along with three others wardens, had just investigated the sound of gunshots and were returning upstream when the accident occurred. The other three wardens were able to swim to safety.
Game Warden Nattkemper had served with the Indiana Department of Conservation for five years.
Warden William J. Peare, April 27, 1926.
Indiana Conservation Officers are law enforcement officers for the DNR and are the oldest Indiana state law enforcement agency. A total of 214 Indiana Conservation Officers serve the state.