McPherson Police Officers came together with members of the McPherson community on Monday, May 15 at a Fallen Officer Memorial Service at the Free Methodist Church.
Police Department Chaplain Dick Reynolds said they wanted to hold a more substantial service that would attract more members of the community than they had in the past at the usual morning service honoring fallen officers at McPherson Cemetery. The evening memorial service had more than 125 people in attendance.
Fallen Officer Memorial Day began in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law.
McPherson has lost two police officers in the line of duty and family of both officers were present at the memorial service Monday.
Night Chief Bruce was shot and killed May 14, 1933 after interrupting a burglary at a local gas station. After informing the owner of the station he returned to the location and found several men in front of the business. They opened fire on him, fatally wounding him. The suspects were later shot and killed by a posse.
Night Chief Grant suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after struggling with a suspect on Feb. 11, 1937. He had responded to a café at North Main Street and struggled with a disorderly patron. He was able to place the man under arrest and took him to the City Jail.
Chief Grant began to feel sick shortly after midnight and collapsed shortly thereafter.
At the memorial service, Allen County Master Deputy Darren Kellerman gave a talk about bagpipes and a history of why Amazing Grace is played at officer funerals.
A Missing Man table was presented by police officers with many symbolic items placed including a single place setting, white table cloth, red rose, slice of lemon, sprinkled salt, the Bible, a lit candle and an empty chair.
Afterwards blue candles were handed out to those in attendance and Psalm 91, the Psalm of Protection, was read aloud.
The service was lead by Free Methodist Pastor David Kessler who is also a chaplain for the McPherson Police Department.
Reynolds said the memorial service was a successful, family-friendly event that he hopes will continue in future years. Local police officers were joined by their families and footage of the morning laying of wreaths on the fallen officers graves was shown.
From the McPherson Police Department Facebook page:
“In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
“No hero truly dies so long as their sacrifice is remembered.”