By Jordan Green
MIAMI COUNTY — A memorial service for Miami County law enforcement officers (LEO) who lost their lives in the line of duty was held on the Troy Courthouse Plaza on Wednesday, May 4.
The service was held at the Miami County Law Enforcement Memorial, which resides in the northeast corner of the Miami County Courthouse in Troy and was first dedicated in June 1999.
Put on by the Miami County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 58, this year’s service was dedicated to 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; Det. Robert Taylor, Piqua PD; and Sgt. Robert Elliott, MCSO; and Insp. Kimra Skelton, OSHP, whose name was added in 2021.
All these officers made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their community.
A crowd of attendees made up of friends and families of the departed, law enforcement officers from around the county, and citizens wishing to pay respects fell to silence as the traditional bagpipe performance began.
President of the Board of County Commissioners Ted Mercer later came on as the featured speaker for the memorial.
“There are more than 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States… crime fighting has taken its toll. Since the first recorded death in 1786 there have been more than 22,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty,” began Mercer.
Mercer spoke on the difficulties LEOs face in their day-to-day job.
“Police officers see death often… officers then have to clear their mind and try not to take it home with them,” said Mercer as he encouraged them to use their support systems if needed.
“Cops are not perfect. In fact, that don’t have to be perfect. They have to be excellent every single day. In circumstances you can’t imagine and wouldn’t want to do if you could,” said Mercer.
He went on to talk about the current conditions of society and culture that law enforcement officers are operating in, noting that a higher level of scrutiny is placed on LEOs and referring to the “defund the police” movement to contrast with his own level of support for law enforcement agencies in the Miami County.
In a similar vein, Mercer talked about the need for new jail facilities and the plan the Miami County Commissioners are creating in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Department before shifting to his personal relationship with law enforcement.
Highlighting his grandfather’s work as a State Highway patrolman, he went on to talk about the role of law enforcement officers.
“I believe the most important opportunity the law enforcement has is to interact with the public in a non-law enforcement context,” said Mercer as he highlighted the ways LEOs in Miami County engage with the community before thanking them for their services.
After a poem was played, Commissioner Wade Westfall issued a proclamation:
“Whereas Miami County, Ohio 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 democracies… therefore be it resolved that the Board of Miami County Commissioners do hereby recognize May 11- May 17, 2022, as National Police Week in Miami County and publicly salutes the service of law enforcement officers in our community.”
The ceremony closed with a gun salute, prayers lead by Lodge No. 58 Chaplain Greg Simmons, a performance of Taps, and a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace, before the removal of colors.