The Kokomo Police Department remembered two local officers killed in the line of duty during its annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service Wednesday afternoon in an event that also acknowledged all police officers who have lost their lives.
“Their lives have inspired us, and in their deaths, it calls us and compels us to a more compassionate resolve,” KPD chaplain Mark Watkins said during a prayer in the council chambers at city hall.
Maj. Brian Seldon said that May 15 was named Police Officer Memorial Day by President Kennedy in 1962, and the week that day falls on is also set aside as National Police Officers Week. In 1994, President Clinton directed that all government buildings fly flags at half-mast on May 15.
Seldon also took time to mention fallen Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz, killed earlier this year, and called for a moment of silence.
Capt. Kevin Summers also spoke about the two Kokomo police officers who have been died, the first being Thomas Lannon, who died on Aug. 22, 1877. Lannon was shot in the back by a man he had arrested previously while he was speaking with members of the public at a railroad depot.
His shooter was sentenced to hang, but the charge was later reduced to life in prison by the governor.
The second officer was Al Berryman, who was killed Nov. 26, 1953. Berryman was shot while responding to a report of a dispute inside a residence. The resident shot Berryman while he was approaching the door, and Berryman’s partner in turn killed the shooter.
Kelly Ingram, president of the Kokomo chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said those in attendance had a responsibility to remember officers who gave their lives.
“Their names inscribed upon the memorial plaque … is a reminder to us that ours is a duty not only to the living, but to the memory of those that pioneered our profession,” Ingram said. “We accept the challenge.”
Present and retired officers in attendance then placed carnations at a podium placed at the front of the room, with nearly 30 past and present officers doing so.
The service concluded with the flag outside city hall being put to half-mast as "Taps" was played, and a prayer from KPD chaplain Jeff Russell.