State to honor fallen peace officers

In honor of National Police Week, May 11-17, and National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, held annually on May 15, the state of Kansas will be having its annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony this week. The Kansas services will take place on May 1 and 2. The public is encouraged to attend the memorial events.

The 19th Annual Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary, Topeka  No. 3, will be at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 1, in the First Floor Rotunda area of the Statehouse, with a candle lighting ceremony to follow at the Kansas Law Enforcement Monument.

Two of Kansas historic fallen officers’ names will be added to the monument this year, honoring the ultimate sacrifice they made.

Fort Scott Police Officer Samuel B. McLemore, EOW January 23, 1892: Police Officer Samuel B. McLemore was shot and killed the morning of January 23, 1892 as he attempted to arrest two suspected train robbers. Officer McLemore and railroad agents had been alerted early in the morning that two suspects were believed to be en route to Fort Scott. Officer McLemore was in the process of arresting the two robbers when one of them shot and killed him.

Rosedale Police Department Motorcycle Patrolman James M. Karr, Jr., EOW July 10, 1916: Motorcycle Patrolman James M. Karr, Jr. was shot and killed the morning of July 10, 1916. He was pursuing a car used by a gang wanted for robbing banks and businesses on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri state line in the Kansas City area. Several witnesses observed when occupants in the car stood up and fired at the pursuing patrolman. Officer Karr was struck twice and died at the scene.

The 32nd Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony will be held 12 p.m. Friday, May 2, at the Kansas Statehouse, Second Floor Rotunda.  A wreath-laying ceremony will follow at the Kansas Law Enforcement Monument, which is on the northeast quadrant of the Statehouse grounds.

In honor of National Police Week and National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, KHP will join COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) for Project Blue Ribbon. COPS is a national non-profit organization for the families of officers lost in the line of duty. As part of Project Blue Ribbon, the Patrol will be tying blue ribbons to agency-owned vehicles, and encouraging civilians to do the same, to serve as a reminder of the many officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. It also honors those officers who are working every day, putting their lives on the line.  A limited supply of the official COPS ribbons will be available at local KHP troop headquarters, however, any 18-inch strip of royal blue ribbon will show your support.

In 2013, the U.S. lost 100 law enforcement officers in the line of duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That is down from 122 officers lost in 2012. So far in 2014, as of April 24, the U.S. has lost 39 officers in the line of duty.

KHP remembers the service of the following 10 troopers who gave their lives while protecting Kansans.

KHP “Roll of Honor”

Trooper Maurice R. Plummer was the first KHP member to be killed in the line of duty. Plummer was fatally injured in an automobile crash while patrolling US-40 about five miles west of Russell on Dec. 16, 1944.

Trooper Jimmie D. Jacobs was fatally injured in an automobile crash Oct. 6, 1959, on US-54 east of El Dorado. Jacobs was on an emergency run transporting blood for an immediate surgery in Eureka when he collided with a grain truck that turned in front of his patrol car.

Trooper John B. McMurray was injured in an automobile crash Dec. 6, 1964, on K-18 west of Manhattan. McMurray was stowing a camera in the trunk of his car, which was parked on the shoulder of K-18, when an intoxicated driver struck him. He died on Dec. 9, 1964, as a result of his injuries.

Lieutenant Bernard C. Hill suffered fatal injuries as the result of an automobile crash May 28, 1967, on the Kansas Turnpike near Andover. A driver hydroplaned during a thunderstorm, and lost control of his car, and a car it was towing. Both vehicles crossed the median, the towing car overturned, caught fire, and struck Hill’s patrol car head on.

Sergeant Eldon K. Miller was shot and fatally injured on Jan. 19, 1968, while taking part in a manhunt for bank robbery suspects in Overland Park. Miller, the first KHP member to be killed by gunfire, was fatally shot while moving a patrol car to protect officers who were pinned down by gunfire.

Trooper James D. Thornton was shot and fatally injured on Oct. 2, 1973, while checking a hitchhiker on Interstate 70 at the east edge of Topeka. The man, wanted for the murder of his father in New York, was later shot and killed by other officers when he refused to surrender.

Trooper Conroy G. O’Brien was shot and fatally injured on May 24, 1978, after stopping a car for a traffic violation on the Kansas Turnpike near Matfield Green. Three suspects were apprehended after a vehicle chase, gun battle and massive manhunt south of Herington.

Trooper Ferdinand F. “Bud” Pribbenow was shot and killed on July 11, 1981, after stopping a man for driving 98 miles per hour on the Kansas Turnpike near El Dorado. The suspect was wounded and apprehended after a short pursuit and gun battle with officers near the Kellogg Turnpike interchange in east Wichita.

Master Trooper Larry L. Huff was injured in an automobile crash on Nov. 3, 1993. He was patrolling US-81 south of Concordia when his vehicle was struck broadside by a semi-truck as he was attempting to turn around in pursuit of a traffic violator. He died as a result of his injuries on Nov. 26, 1993.

Master Trooper Dean A. Goodheart was fatally injured at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 6, 1995, on Interstate 70 near Oakley. As a member of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, Goodheart was performing a routine truck safety inspection when a passing car struck him.

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