TROY — Law enforcement officers from throughout the county honored their fallen comrades at the annual Miami County Law Enforcement Memorial Service, held on the plaza at the Miami County Courthouse on Wednesday.
The annual ceremony served as a tribute to the seven Miami County law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.
Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee served as special speaker at the event, discussing the daily difficulties that entail the career of a law enforcement officer, as well as the negative perception law enforcement continues to face in the public eye.
“Because I’ve had a good working relationship with law enforcement officers throughout my career, I’ve come to observe what I believe is a very concerning trend,” Gee said. “During my lifetime, I’ve seen what I would describe as an erosion of respect for police officers. This trend does not just concern Miami County, but goes on for police officers across the country. The importance of law enforcement maintaining an orderly society can never be overstated.”
Gee cited the recent passing of Westerville officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli, who were shot and killed during a response to a 9-1-1 hang-up call, as one of many recent incidents of officers dying in the line of duty.
“The common thread in these cases is that officers were dispatched on calls that were commonplace, and would not appear at first glance to be outwardly dangerous or life-threatening,” Gee said. “It is impossible for me or any other civilian to imagine the daily stress of officers who must consider the worst-case scenarios in virtually every encounter in the course of their shift. It would be just as impossible to appreciate the stress put on their families, knowing the risk they face at work every day.
“The commission of law enforcement is so vital and valuable to civilized society. The path to restoring respect to authority and law enforcement is complicated, but I can think of no better ambassadors than the men and women here in Miami County who are willing to sacrifice so very much to serve and protect.”
Following Gee’s speech, a roll call of fallen Miami County officers commenced, with the placement of flowers at the memorial by surviving family members and police escorts.
Memorialized law enforcement officers included:
• Marshall Harvey Hake — Covington Police Department — Jan. 12, 1917
• Patrolman George Eickmeyer — Tipp City Police Department — Sept. 17, 1945
• Lt. Noah Studebaker —Piqua Police Department — Oct. 17, 1957
• Patrolman Jan Mulder II — Piqua Police Department — Aug. 11, 1970
• Sgt. William R. Morris — Miami County Sheriff’s Office — Nov. 22, 1972
• Detective Robert Taylor — Piqua Police Department — Nov. 3, 1982
• Sgt. Robert L. Elliott — Miami County Sheriff’s Office — Feb. 25, 1987
To date, the United States has seen 32 line of duty deaths in 2018, compared to 34 at this time in 2017.
The Miami County Police Memorial was dedicated in 1999 to Miami County law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The Miami County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 58 is committed to improving the working conditions of law enforcement officers and the safety of those we serve through education, legislation, information, and community involvement.