The Duncan Banner


May 16, 2014

Law enforcement officers pay respects to fallen comrades

DUNCAN — Nearly 29 years has passed since Stephens County lost its last law enforcement officer in the line of duty. But the absence of that Duncan officer didn’t go unnoticed Thursday morning, when law enforcement officers from around the county gathered to pay respects.

Duncan Lake Ranger Darrell “Jack” E. James was shot and killed June 3, 1985, after he responded to a call of shots being fired. On Thursday, his widow Cheryl Huffmaster spoke to law enforcement officers and members of the community about James’ service and sacrifice to the community. James was one of five law enforcement officers recognized during a dedication ceremony for National Law Enforcement Day, which included a memorial marker placed in front of the Stephens County Courthouse.

The ceremony included a bagpipe playing “Amazing Grace” and trumpet performing “TAPS.” Five officers have died since 1921 in Stephens County. In addition to James, the others included Stephens County Sheriff’s Deputy Dick Worley, Stephens County Sheriff Waldo Williams, Duncan Police Chief Irvin Gossett and Marlow police officer James Richard Hill. Williams and Gossett were in the same in May 1930, although Gossett didn’t die for another nine years.

“This is a monumental moment in time for law enforcement in Stephens County,” Huffmaster said. “Let our prayer be no other names are etched into this marker.”

Arthur Michael Parks was arrested, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the death of James. But after a ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals, Parks’ case went back to trial in Stephens County, once again receiving a guilty verdict and life in prison sentence.

Huffmaster said she put faith in God and found He helped her through the darkest times. She said Parks comes up for patrol every three years, but she fights to keep him in prison every time because she feels he deserves to spent his life in prison.

“This is Jack’s badge,” she said holding up a metal-plated shield. “I look at it and think about it what it means. All badges are forged form the same steel. May today’s officers keep that fire burning brightly. May they pass that flame on to those who come after them.”

Kevin Tyus with the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office spearheaded the event. Tyus said it was important to remember those who laid their lives on the line to maintain order and peace in the community.

“There isn’t another job like it,” Tyus said. “The badge is not something that you wear. It’s something that you are.”

In the event processional, Sheriff Wayne McKinney, Duncan Chief Danny Ford and Marlow Chief Jimmy Williams carried a memorial wreath together, placing it just in front of the memorial. As the names of their fallen comrades were read, they placed roses in remembrance. Huffmaster placed the final rose in memory of James.

Huffmaster said she was glad to represent James and wanted to represent the families of the other fallen law enforcement officers. She said there is a pride that comes with the badge, and James loved being a law enforcement officer.

“It’s a wonderful, dedicated, professional group of men and women,” Huffmaster said.

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Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

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