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MILLERSBURG -- In honor of the week of May 15 being designated National Police Week, the Millersburg Police Department played host to a police officer memorial Friday afternoon, May 19, on the courthouse lawn commemorating Ohio's fallen police officers.
Members of the Millersburg Police and Auxiliary were on hand, along with Holmes County Sheriff's Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol officers and more than 100 civilians, including fifth-grade students from Millersburg Elementary School.
Lt. Stephanie Norman welcomed everyone and Lt. Eldon Trubee offered a prayer.
"Be present with us as we honor the memories of those who died in service to community, county, state, to our great land," Trubee said. "We thank you that those who have fallen are at peace in your open and loving arms. We thank you for their lives, though cut short in the line of duty, providing safety and peace, and help, which we too often take for granted.
"Grant peace to those departed servants' families and friends, who awaited their safe returns home from duty, only to experience deep pain and loss," he continued. "Bless this commemoration. Amen."
Brenda Boley sang the national anthem, and Capt. Brad Conn talked about why people would go into the profession, especially with today's climate toward it.
"Sometimes we forget that when we put on or uniform, we are influencing people in our community," Conn said. "They're watching every move we make. And it's our job to model the correct behavior and influence to make the future of law enforcement better than it is today."
Conn surveyed several officers, asking why they chose the profession and the answers varied from wanting to arrest all the bad guys, which holds people accountable and protects the public, as well as restoring the victim and hopefully rehabilitates the offender, to a military career led to an opportunity as a state trooper, to wanting to help people and be there for them when they felt like no one else was.
Millersburg Police Chief S. Thomas Vaughn and Deputy Chris Schonauer shared the stories of fallen officers and their end of watch in Ohio in 2016, which included: K9 Jethro of the Canton Police, Thomas Wayne Cottrell Jr. of the Danville Police Department, Steven Michael Smith of Columbus Police, Sean Richard Johnson of Hilliard Police, Kenneth Velez of the State Highway Patrol and Aaron Jackson Christian of Chesapeake Police.
The program concluded with a playing of taps by Capt. Larry Purdy.
"Every two days an American police officer will be killed in the line of duty," said Millersburg Mayor Jeff Huebner as he proclaimed the week National Police Week in the village.
"Another 155 officers will be seriously assaulted in the performance of their duties, our community joins with other cities and towns to honor all peace officers everywhere," Huebner said.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.