Fallen Montgomery County area officers remembered

Law enforcement officers from across Montgomery County gathered with the community Friday to honor those killed in the line of duty.

More than 80 current and retired officers were led in solemn formation by bagpipes and drums to the 12th Annual Montgomery County Law Enforcement Officer Memorial, held at RiverScape MetroPark in Dayton.

A group of cheering school children near Rivers Edge Montessori School lent support to the procession as they marched along Riverside Drive followed dozens of law enforcement cruisers with flashing lights.

The ceremony commemorated “38 officers who willingly accepted the risk of serving their communities never knowing what they may encounter during their shift,” said Vandalia Police Chief Kurt Althouse, the chairman of the memorial committee. “Thirty-eight officers who never knew the day they started their shift it would be their last.”

Each year during the month of May, National Peace Officers Memorial Day, founded in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, and National Police Week are commemorated.

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Locally the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Ceremony honors the 38 law enforcement officers who have died while on the job during the more than 150-year history of policing.

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Lee Lynam, a patrolman with the Dayton Police Department, is the earliest local death that occurred during the line of duty according to the Dayton Police History Foundation.

On Jan. 7, 1880 Lynam arrested a suspect who was released later the same day after being “told to behave.” The suspect tracked the officer to a café on East Third Street and shot and killed him. He was later apprehended.

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At this years’ event the keynote speaker was U.S. Navy SEAL James Hatch, the founder of Spike's K-9 Fund, an organization that trains and cares for service dogs that work with military and law enforcement officers.

Sara McPherson, the daughter of Covington, Ky. Police Officer Michael Anthony Partin, was the family survivor speaker. Officer Partin drowned in the line of duty in 1998 after falling nearly 90 feet through a gap in a bridge into the Ohio River while in a foot chase of a wanted person.

During the ceremony each fallen officer was remembered with a white carnation, placed by a family member or fellow officer upon a yellow and blue badge shaped memorial wreath.

“It’s been a long time, but it still hurts,” said a tearful Micky Mortimer who lost two uncles in the line of duty. Dayton Police Sgt. Paul Mortimer was killed in 1970 and Dayton Police Sgt. William Mortimer was killed in 1974.

Mortimer said the annual commemoration is important for the community “because if you don’t do this you lose perspective. You don’t understand what these men and women do every day.”

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