News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

May 9, 2014

For the fallen

Ceremony honors the twelve Terre Haute police officers who died in line of duty, service to City

TERRE HAUTE — Twelve fallen heroes were honored Friday morning in a somber ceremony outside the Terre Haute Police Department.

In a prelude to Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15, THPD conducted its annual memorial ceremony with a message of protecting the community and a tribute to the 12 officers who have died in the line of duty since the department was founded.

Retired THPD officer and chaplain Dan Walls read from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel that God called for people to “stand in the gap” of the city wall to protect the people. That ancient call parallels today’s society, Walls said, as police officers are called to defend the weakest against those who would do evil.

“In America today, in 2014, there are approximately one million police officers who protect and serve our communities, and more than 20,000 have given their lives to defend this nation,” he said.

As a reminder of the high-risk job, Walls said that an average of 153 police officers are killed each year, which comes out to one officer dying about every 2 to 3 days.

A color guard of THPD officers somberly changed the American flag outside the police station and saluted fallen officers from the department in the annual tribute. A statue of fallen Officer Brent Long and his K-9 partner Shadow stand watch beneath the American flag.

Mayor Duke Bennett read a proclamation declaring May 11-17 as Police Week in the City of Terre Haute.

The day is in honor of law enforcement officers and their day-to-day challenge of protecting the community.

Sgt. Todd Haller also read from the New Testament Book of Ephesians to uplift that officers “put on the whole armor of God” when they withstand the evil of the day to protect the public.

Assistant Chief Mark Eldred read the names of the THPD officers who have died in the line of duty. They are:

• Detective William Dwyer, who died in a gun battle at the Vigo County Courthouse on April 2, 1908. Dwyer, 47, was a veteran officer with more than 20 years of service.

• Detective Matthew Dorley, 52, who died from a gunshot wound after attempting to arrest three robbery suspects on Jan. 23, 1919.

• Officer Herbert Long, 37, who died Feb. 9, 1922, at 25th Street and Second Avenue after trying to arrest two people on alcohol-related charges. A man shot him and fled, and the gunman was apprehended within hours of shooting Long.

n Officer Harry Borum, 30, who died Nov. 23, 1924, after striking his head on the pavement near Eighth Street and Wabash Avenue. Borum was trying to arrest a suspect.

• Detective Stephen Kendall, 42, and a 14-year veteran of THPD, who died Dec. 23, 1924, after he responded to a robbery in progress at a gas station at Lafayette and Linden streets. He was fatally shot by one of two robbery suspects.

•  Officer Herman Harms, 32, who died Jan. 25, 1925 after having been an officer for just five weeks. He was shot by an unidentified person while on foot patrol near the Wabash Avenue river bridge.

•  Officer Walter Lanfair, 45, who was shot Aug. 3, 1934, as he investigated a residential burglary in progress on Barton Avenue. He was an 11-year veteran of the force.

•  Officer Wayne Jones, 35, who died June 25, 1951, from injuries he suffered in a car accident at 19th Street and Washington Avenue while responding to a call.

n  Detective Clarence Thompson, 42, who died March 8, 1964, from injuries he received during a battery a few days earlier by three men outside the Coffee Cup restaurant on Mulberry Street. He was a 16-year veteran of the THPD.

•  Detective James Utz, 40, who died Sept. 16, 1981, from injuries he received from a vehicle accident at Third and Mulberry streets. He had been with the department for 14 years.

•  Detective Harold “Sonny” Rogers, 46, who died June 16, 1984, after being shot by a federal prison escapee at the Wagon Wheel bar at Third and Walnut streets. Rogers had been with THPD for 21 years.

•  Officer Brent Long, 34, who died July 11, 2011, after being shot while assisting in the apprehension of a fugitive wanted on a federal warrant. He had worked for the department for six years.

National Police Week was created Oct. 1, 1961 when Congress asked the president to designate May 15 to honor peace officers. President John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law on Oct. 1, 1952.

The THPD Color Guard will be traveling to Washington D.C. next week for the National Police Week events.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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