Representatives of public safety agencies, local officials, family members and the general public attended the annual National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day program Wednesday at the Boone County Courthouse. The official date of this day of remembrance is May 15, and it is part of National Police Week.
Rain forced the event to be moved inside the courthouse rotunda, but did not dampen its importance or emotion.
Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell memorialized the three local officers who have died in the line of duty: Sheriff John H. Peper, Indiana State Trooper Richard G. Brown, and ISP Master Trooper Michael E. Greene. Peper and Brown died in traffic accidents while on duty; Greene was shot to death during a traffic stop.
Peper, 38, died on Feb. 7, 1935, when his vehicle overturned on an icy road while he was responding to an accident.
Brown, 40, was en route to a car-truck crash on Interstate 74 on Sept. 27, 1967, when he was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Two others died in the crash.
Greene, 43, was fatally shot by Norman C. Timberlake on Feb. 5, 1993, after the trooper had stopped to question his killer and a companion along I-65. Timberlake was convicted and sentenced to death, but died in prison in 2007.
As he spoke of Greene, Campbell paused to regain his composure.
The closer he comes to retirement, Campbell said after the ceremony, the more he worries that he will lose one of his own deputies in the line of duty.
Lebanon Police Chief Sam Myers read the 1962 Congressional resolution that established Police Week, along with information about police line-of-duty deaths.
Tom Garoffolo, director of the Boone County Communications Center, read his poem, “The Thin Blue Line,” which commemorates fallen officers.
In a brief and moving reading that began, “How much do you love your job,” BCSO Chief Deputy Mike Nielsen asked the rhetorical question, “Would you walk away from your family each day knowing dying for your job is expected of you?”The reading concluded, “If you can’t say you would, be grateful for those who will.”