Clark County law enforcement, fire honor fallen on annual Law Day

Officials from across Clark County gathered at the annual Law Day event to honor those who died in the line of duty.

Names of 25 men and women who lost their lives while serving Clark County residents — some dating as far back as the 18th century — were read aloud in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the community.

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“We recall these names to comfort the families of the fallen as well as those who share a life in public service with these brothers and sisters,” said City of Springfield Fire Chief, Brian Miller.

The 39th annual event featured members of the Springfield Police Division, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Springfield Fire Rescue Division and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“Very few realize the love and compassion we have for this profession, our brothers and sisters, and this community,” said Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett.

The ceremony took place in front of the Clark County Courthouse on 314 E. North St.

The combined Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Springfield Police Division Honor Guard were on hand at the ceremony to present colors and help lay a wreath at the safety officers memorial statue in downtown Springfield, along with a 21-gun salute.

There were 163 officers were killed in the line of duty in the United States in 2018, Burchett said. No law enforcement officers or firefighters lost their lives in Clark County.

“I hear so many times, ‘well that’s what they signed up for,’ no it’s not what they signed up for,’” Burchett said. “No one signs up for anything expecting to be hated, injured or killed.”

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Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Suzanna Hopper was the last law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty. Hopper was shot to death on New Year’s Day 2011.

The gunman was killed later on at the Enon Beach campground. Other law enforcement officers were injured during the incident.

Nine Springfield Police Division Officers have died in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. The most recent was in 1959, according to the memorial page, when patrolman Leroy Warren Jr. died during a vehicle pursuit.

Three Clark County Sheriff Deputies have died while serving the community, the memorial page says.

“These officers made the ultimate sacrifice in service of this community,” said Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf. “They may be gone, but they will never be forgotten.”

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