(BEDFORD) – Peace Officer Week was held last week from May 10 – May 16 with May 15 celebrated as Peace Officers Memorial Day.
The day is set aside to pay tribute to the local, state, and federal peace officers who have died or have been disabled in the line of duty.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.
President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week 2020 which states:
“On behalf of our grateful Nation, we proudly recognize the more than 900,000 sworn members of law enforcement for their resolve and dedication in the face of dangerous uncertainty. The thoughts and prayers of our Nation are with them and their families, and will always owe them our appreciation and support.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public ceremonies honoring those who have fallen were done either virtually or canceled altogether.
On Friday, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Deputies lowered the flag to half-staff to honor the Lawrence County Police officers who died in the line of duty.
Their memories will live on in Lawrence County as the community they served will never forget their sacrifice.
These officers include:
- George J. Carney – Bedford Police Department – End of Watch – Jan. 20th, 1875.
- Pinkey F. Bough – Oolitic Town Marshal – End of Watch – Sept. 23rd, 1922.
- William H. Sutherlin – Mitchell Police Department – End of Watch – March 7th, 1923
- George W. Bush – Mitchell Police Department – End of Watch – Oct. 14th, 1935
- Robert C. Gillespie – Indiana State Police – End of Watch – June 8th, 1962.
- George E. Stillman – Mitchell Police Department – End of Watch- Sept. 7th, 1965.
- Karl E. Kelley – Indiana Department of Natural Resources – End of Watch – April 17th, 1998.
In 2019, there were 38 officers who were shot and killed in the line of duty. These incidents took place over a period of 50 weeks.
Over the last few years law enforcement officers do not always receive the respect they deserve.
Law enforcement officers must operate in environments where their moral and legal authority is constantly being scrutinized, and yet they undertake difficult situations.
Officers deal with citizens affected by addiction, homelessness, and mental illness.
Some of the line of duty deaths recorded in Lawrence County include traffic accidents, training exercises, and killed by gunfire.
- Bedford Police Department: George Carney – Shot in Line of Duty
- Mitchell Police Department: Officer George E.Stillman – Shot in Line of Duty
- Mitchell Police Department: George William Bush – Automobile Crash
- Mitchell Police Department: William Henry Sutherlin – Shot in Line of Duty
- Oolitic Police Department: Pinkney Freeman Bough – Shot in Line of Duty
- Indiana State Police – Robert C. Gillespie – Auto Accident
- Indiana Conservation Officer – Karl E. Kelley – Training Accident
May the sacrifice of these officers never be forgotten.