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April 8, 2014

Commissioners approve placement of law enforcement memorial

DUNCAN —  The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office will place a memorial marker in front of the courthouse to honor five fallen law enforcement officers.

 Stephens County Commissioners approved placement of the monument, which will be  dedicated to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since the early days of the county.

The first officer to be killed in the line of duty occurred in 1821 and the most recent was in 1985.

“May 15 is National Law Enforcement Day,” said Kevin Tyus, an investigator with the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office. “They lay wreaths in front of the Capitol. We want to place a memorial by the flagpole in front of the courthouse.”

The monument would be the size of a grave stone. Tyus said the sheriff’s office is working with a funeral home, which is donating the engraving of the stone. He said any additional costs would be paid with private funds.

The plan is to have the monument in place by May 15 for a dedication ceremony. The ceremony would include a 21-gun salute, a bugler playing “TAPS” and a bagpipe  performance of  “Amazing Grace.”

A similar ceremony would occur on May 15 every year after, Tyus said.

Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney said he couldn’t think of a better public location for a monument than the Stephens County Courthouse.

Although only five law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in Stephens County, the marker will have room for 10 names. Undersheriff John Smith said the hope is to never have to add names.

“Nothing on that stone will be controversial,” Smith said. “We don’t want to cause any controversy.”

Dee Bowen, District 3 commissioner and board chairman, said he would also like to see the area fire departments do a similar monument recognizing firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

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