TROY — Law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty were honored on Wednesday, May 3, during a special ceremony held at the Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial on Courthouse Plaza in Troy.
“We are here to recognize and honor our fallen officers who have given their lives in the line of duty in Miami County, along with all fallen law enforcement officers who have given their lives to protect and serve their communities,” Troy Police Sergeant Jeff Waite said. “We are also here to recognize and honor the sacrifices made by the families of our fallen law enforcement officers of Miami County.”
Organized by the Miami County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 58, the ceremony was held at the Miami County Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial, which is located on the northeast corner of the Miami County Courthouse Plaza. The memorial was originally dedicated in 1999.
“Our memorial carries the names of eight law enforcement officers,” Waite said. “The earliest recorded line-of-duty death in Miami County was in 1917, and the latest in 2019.”
“I’m thankful that we made it another year without adding a name to that list,” he said. “The job of a law enforcement officer has never been easy. The men and women who wear the badge put their lives on the line every day in the interest of preserving peace, protecting the innocent, and enforcing our laws.”
The ceremony was dedicated to fallen Miami County officers Marshal Harvey Hake, Covington Police Department (PD); Ptlm. George Eichmeyer, Tipp City PD; Lt. Noah Studebaker, Piqua PD; Ptlm. Jan Mulder, Piqua PD; Sgt. William Morris, Miami County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO); Det. Robert Taylor, Piqua PD; and Sgt. Robert Elliott, MCSO; and Insp. Kimra Skelton, OSHP.
The ceremony’s featured speaker was Lt. Joseph Gebhart, who recently retired after 34 years of service with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“I also stand as a strong advocate for this memorial, and the sacrifices made by our loved ones,” Gebhart said. “It is my belief that the very best way for us to remember our fallen and to honor their sacrifice is to find ways to be a better version of ourselves each day.”
“The difficult work that our law enforcement officers do each day is not possible without the support of their loved ones, and their community,” he said. “Take time to support one another and lift one another up; take time to check on each other, and engage in conversations. It just might help someone who is struggling.”
The ceremony featured vocal and bagpipe performances, a gun salute and an audio presentation. “Taps” was performed on the trumpet by Mike Ullery.
Miami County Commissioner Wade Westfall also issued a proclamation in support of National Police Week, which will be celebrated Tuesday, May 9, through Saturday, May 20.
“Miami County recognizes and honors the service and sacrifice of those law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty while protecting our communities and safeguarding our democracy,” Westfall said.
“The service and sacrifice of all the officers killed in the line of duty will be honored during the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund 35th Candlelight Vigil, on the evening of May 13 this year,” he said.
Westfall also recognized Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, which will be celebrated on Monday, May 15.
“May 15, 2023, is designated as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day in honor of all fallen officers and their families, and the U.S. flag should be flown at half-staff,” he said.