Memorial service pays tribute to officers

TROY – Miami County paid tribute to fallen law enforcement officers and those officers who serve the community daily May 3 during the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service.

The service is hosted by the Miami County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 58 and held at the county Law Enforcement Memorial on the Courthouse Plaza.

The memorial was dedicated in June 1999 to county law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and to those who continue to risk their lives.

Eight names of officers lost are on the memorial from Marshal Harvey Hake of Covington, who was shot and killed Jan. 12, 1917, to Kimra J. Skelton, who died on the job Nov. 27, 2019.

Hake was attempting to arrest a man on a warrant and minor violations of law, while Skelton was working as a motor carrier enforcement inspector for the Ohio State Highway Patrol when her vehicle was hit by a motorist on Interstate 75.

During this year’s service, Jeff Waite of the Troy Police Department and FOP Lodge 58 president, said law enforcement work continues to come with many dangers. “I ask you to keep officers and their families in your prayers,” he said.

The program included prayers, a county commissioners’ proclamation for police week, a roll call of fallen officers and placement of flowers in their memory at the memorial, a gun salute, Amazing Grace on the bagpipes and Taps.

The speaker was Joe Gebhart, former commander of the Piqua post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who retired earlier this year after more than 30 years of service.

Gebhart urged those attending to honor the sacrifices of those who have served by being a better version of themselves each day.

He urged those who have lost a loved one to service to “press on and honor their lives without regret and with a renewed purpose moving forward.”

The difficult work done daily by law enforcement officers isn’t possible without the support of their loved ones, and the community, Gebhart said.

“Take time to support one another, lift one another up. Take time to check on each other and engage in conversations. It might just help someone who is struggling,” he said.

Those officers who have died in the line of duty in Miami County include:

  • Marshal Harvey Hake, Covington Police, Jan. 12, 1917
  • Ptlm. George Eichmeyer, Tipp City Police, Sept. 17, 1945
  • Lt. Noah Studebaker, Piqua Police, Oct. 17, 1957
  • Ptlm. Jan Mulder, Piqua Police, Aug. 11, 1970
  • Sgt. William Morris, Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Nov. 22, 1972
  • Detective Robert Taylor, Piqua Police, Nov. 3, 1982
  • Sgt. Robert Elliott, Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Feb. 25, 1987
  • Kimra Skelton, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Nov. 27, 2019

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