In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day; the calendar week is known as National Police Week. Established by Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. Communities across the United States will honor and remember those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the family members, friends and fellow officers they left behind. This year, the names of 619 officers killed in the line of duty (319 fatalities were COVID-19-related) are being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. These 619 officers include 472 officers who were killed during 2021, plus 147 officers who died in previous years, but whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history until now.
Locally, we know that sacrifice all too well. We have lost several members of law enforcement in Newton and Jasper County, including Newton Police Lieutenant Pat Richardson, Newton Police Officer Bobby Barrickman, Newton Police Officer Daniel McPherren, Prairie City Police Officer Rusty Hewitt, Prairie City Police Department Chief Michael German and Jasper County Sheriff's Reserve Captain Howard Holdefer. Please join us in honoring the sacrifice and legacy of these law enforcement officers. The annual Jasper County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony will occur on May 12 at 5:30 p.m. on the north lawn at the Jasper County Courthouse.