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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • National Peace Officer Memorial Day observed in McPherson

  • The morning was cool but not too windy as a group of police officers, former officers and a small number of local residents gathered to remember and honor those who gave their lives in the line of duty.
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  • The morning was cool but not too windy as a group of police officers, former officers and a small number of local residents gathered to remember and honor those who gave their lives in the line of duty.
    Pastor Dick Reynolds opened the ceremony, describing the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day as having been established in 1961. He then offered a prayer both for the officers who have died and for those serving now. Among other things, he asked that God would “remove all resentment from their hearts and give them strength.”
    McPherson Police Chief Robert McClarty referenced the thin blue line, representing the thin line police officers walk daily between life and death. It also represents the police officer’s role of separating the good from evil while creating order from chaos. The thin blue line on black is a memorial, connection or memory between officers killed in the line of duty and those who continue their work.
    McClarty said 42 officers have been killed this year thus far in the nation, 17 from gun fire, three from heart attacks, 20 in auto-related incidents, one in a fire and one by assault. The three main causes of death for peace officers are gun fire, auto incidents and heart attacks.
    McClarty then referenced the two local officers who died in the line of duty in McPherson’s history.
    Night Chief Charles Bruce on May 14, 1933, answered the call from a gas station where gas theft was reported. Upon arrival, he was shot and killed by the Gene Johnson gang.
    Chief Martin Grant on Feb. 12, 1937 arrested an intoxicated suspect who resisted arrest. Though the suspect put up a terrific struggle, the officer completed the arrest, but shortly thereafter died of a massive heart attack.
    A bagpiper played “Amazing Grace” while a commemorative wreath was placed and the officers saluted the fallen.
    Pastor Martin Coon concluded the observance in prayer, asking for blessings and for safety for the officers as they perform their duties.

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