Rushville Republican

May 20, 2013

Fallen officers remembered

Frank Denzler
Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — Since 1962, America has celebrated National Law Enforcement Week to honor law enforcement officers who paid the ultimate price by giving their lives while serving their communities.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy signed into law a measure designating May 15 as a day to remember fallen officers. Since that time, one week during May is designated as “Police Week.”

Recently, Gary Catron of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources placed five eternal flame candles outside the west entrance of the courthouse to honor and remember five law enforcement officers who died in Rush County: RPD officer Fred Wachendorf was killed by gunfire Feb. 4, 1922; RPD officer Walter Garrison was killed by gunfire Feb. 3,  1931; Rush County Sheriff Ray Compton died by gunfire Oct. 3, 1932; deputy Wayne Peters was killed by gunfire May 25, 1968; and Shelby County deputy Stacia Suzanne Alyea lost her life on a Rush County road April 18, 1996 while in a vehicle pursuit.

Annually, the number of law enforcement officer related deaths while in the line of duty increases. Many officers and their families have a special daily ritual prior to leaving for work, not knowing if they will return safely home at the end of their shift.

An unknown individual wrote the following tribute to fallen officers.



A Part Of America Died

Somebody killed a policeman today

And a part of America died...

A piece of our country he swore to protect

Will be buried with him at his side.

The beat that he walked was a battlefield, too,

Just as if he had gone off to war;

Though the flag of our nation won’t fly at half-mast

To his name they will add a gold star.

The suspect that shot him will stand up in court

With counsel demanding his rights,

While a young widowed mother must work for her kids

And spend many long, lonely nights.

Yes, somebody killed a policeman today...

Maybe in your town or mine,

While we slept in comfort behind our locked doors

A cop put his life on the line.

Now his ghost walks the beat on a dark city street,

And he stands at each new rookie’s side;

He answered the call... of himself gave his all,

And a part of America died...



Contact: Frank Denzler @ 765.932.2222 x106