Peace Officers Memorial Day Honoring those who gave their all

Published 6:26 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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On October 1, 1961, Congress asked President John F. Kennedy to designate May 15th as a day to honor peace officers. In 1962, President Kennedy issued the declaration for Peace Officers Memorial Day to be observed on May 15th and the week of May 15th to be recognized as National Police Week.

Wednesday, May15, 2024, was Peace Officers Memorial Day.

The City of Troy honored its fallen Peace Officers Wednesday with a service on the grounds surrounding the Troy’s Police Memorial, attended by a gathering of family members, friends, community members and Troy City Peace Officers.

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All who gathered were there to remember and to honor the officers who “stood in the gap” and to let their families know that their loved ones have not, and will not, be forgotten.

Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves graciously acknowledged the presence of the families whose loved ones gave their lives “in their efforts to take care of us.”

Their loss is unending, the mayor said.

The monument that stands at the front of the Troy Police Department is a reminder of the sacrifices of the fallen Troy Police officers and of the price they paid to protect and to serve.

Mayor Reeves said the Troy Police officers take the burden of protection off those they serve.

“It is important that all citizens remember what police officers do for all of us,” Reeve said. “Those whose names were called gave their all.  We should never forget them and their sacrifices and the families who suffer their loss.

A second Peace Officers Memorial Service followed at Bicentinnial Park. Once again, the names of the fallen Troy Peace Officers were called giving assurance to their loved ones that their names will be remember and their sacrifices never forgotten.

This week, as it should be, those who gave their lives protecting others were remembered and honored in services and ceremonies throughout the country.

Today, perhaps more than ever police officers are called up to “protect and serve.” They are also called upon to stand in gap willing to give their lives to save others.

The Roll Call of Honor was for:

Officer Will Jackson

On June   3, 1905, Officer Jackson was shot while attempting to make an arrest of a man who had reportedly failed to pay his street tax when he was shot in the chest near where his badge was pinned over his heart. He lived about 20 minutes longer. Officer Jackson managed to return fire hitting the suspect in the arm. The suspect was arrested. On September 19, 1905, the suspect was tried and acquitted.

Officer Jean Youngblood

May 21, 1962, Officer Jean Youngblood was shot and killed while attempting to secure a business from a man who had just robbed a bank and murdered two bank tellers in a nearby town. He had received word that the suspect was heading into town so he went to the first service station in town to make sure the owner had protection. While inside the store he heard a vehicle pull around to the back.  Officer Youngblood went to the front door and crouched down as he looked outside. At the same moment, the vehicle came around the front of the building and the suspect fired a single shot from a 45-caliber handgun striking Officer Youngblood in the chest. The suspect fled but was pursued by several officers and citizens. He was killed in a local cemetery.

Sergeant Cecil Sullivan

Nove12, 1967, Sergeant Cecil “Shorty” Sullivan of Troy suffered an apparent heart attack after transporting an emergency room patient from Troy to Baptist Hospital in Montgomery. Sullivan was pronounced dead a few minutes later by doctors at the hospital. He served 18  years with the Troy Police.

Sergeant Billy Ray Dease

January 15, 1968, Billy Ray Dease answered a call to a house fire across from the Red and White on New Street. He was directing traffic to allow city vehicles to re-enter South Brundidge Street when he was struck by a vehicle. He succumbed to his injuries a week after the accident.

Officer George

Steve Watkins

November 26, 198 Officer George Steve Watkins of Troy was shot and killed after responding to a report of an elderly man shooting a gun. Officers had responded to the scene earlier day for a similar report and took the gun from him but didn’t arrest him because it was Thanksgiving Day. When Officer Watkins arrived the second time, he was shot under the left arm, in an area not protected by his vest. Officer Watkins succumbed to his wounds in a local hospital. The suspect was shot and killed after wounding two officers.

State Conservation Officer Grady Russell Jackson

February 12, 1984, /state Conservation Officer Grady Russell Jackson suffered a fatal heart attack while patrolling on foot in Pike County. Officer Jackson had served with the agency 22years. He was also a USMC WWII Veteran who was wounded during the Battle of Tarawa fighting against the Japanese Empire.

State Trooper Robert Jones

November 3, 1991 State Trooper Robert Jones was killed when his patrol car crashed into a tractor-trailer that pulled out in front of his patrol car on U.S. 231 in Pike County, Trooper Jones was responding to a reckless driving call at the time of the accident. Trooper Jones has served with the Alabama Department of Public Safety for 13 years. He is survived by his parents, son, daughter and four brothers.