Officers killed in the line of duty memorialized
By Lisa Marchesoni - May 15, 2008 - 3:14 PM
District Attorney William Whitesell memorialized six officers from Rutherford County who died in the line of duty during the annual Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony at Murfreesboro City Hall.
"We know they tried to make this a better world," Whitesell said.
Officers killed in the line of duty were:
• Murfreesboro Police Officer Herbert McClanahan, who was shot and killed Dec. 16, 1946 at the old City Hall.
• U.S. Deputy Marshal Sam Vaughn, a former sheriff's deputy and Murfreesboro Police officer, killed when two convicts overpowered him Aug. 8, 1953 while he was transporting them to a federal prison in Atlanta.
• Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Lewis Raymond Hendon, killed June 15, 1957 in a traffic crash while transporting blood to Rutherford Hospital.
• Murfreesboro Police Officer Joseph "Butch" Tomlinson, killed in a traffic crash Oct. 28, 1999 on South Church Street.
• Murfreesboro Police Officer Kay Rogers, killed in a traffic crash Nov. 9, 2005 on Middle Tennessee Boulevard.
• Murfreesboro Police Capt. Byron Motley, who died off duty July 22, 2006 while saving the life of a drowning child.
Several survivors of the officers who attended the ceremony were recognized.
Whitesell added another officer to the list, Darby Prater, a Cannon County sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty.
He said law enforcement officers in Rutherford and Cannon Counties every day answer the call of duty, putting their lives on the line whenever they wear their badge.
"I wouldn't want your job but thank God you do it," Whitesell said.
Police officers are asked to solve problems with children whose parents don't take responsibility for their actions. And citizens beg officers to stop gangs and drugs while remaining "silenced by fear," the prosecutor said.
Citizens expect police officers to be psychologists, teachers, parents, mechanic and terrorism experts without paying them the salary they deserve, he said.
Whitesell thanked the fallen officers who gave the sacrifice of their lives answering the call of duty and thanked present officers for the challenges they face and their dedication to duty.
Murfreesboro Police Chief Glenn Chrisman mourned other officers and employees who died in the past year, but not in the line of duty including, Murfreesboro Officer Matt Lovejoy, retired Police Chief E.N. Brown, retired Officer Greg Francis, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Supervisor Brooks Wilkins, a former Murfreesboro officer, Smyrna dispatcher Sherry Stagner, sheriff's Sgt. Bill Truesdell and retired Mayor Joe B. Jackson.
Sheriff Truman Jones said one of the biggest honors of his life was being able to "put on the badge and serve Rutherford County." Law enforcement officers earn less pay but keep the community safe.
State Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell said he worked with Tomlinson who died doing a job he loved. He rememered Trooper Calvin Jenks who was fatally shot in 2007 in Tipton County in the line of duty. A jury convicted his killer Wednesday of first-degree murder, he said, adding "justice does prevail."
U.S. Marshal Denny King said Vaughn's memory will not be forgotten, adding, his heart goes out to each family, each friend and the brothers and sisters in law enforcement who paid that ultimate sacrifice.
Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold said law enforcement officers must not forget those who died in the line of duty.
La Vergne Police Chief Ted Boyd said he learned from Brown, Francis and Wilkins. They and other officers who died in the line of duty performed a job they loved.
MTSU Chief Buddy Peaster said he understands the heartache by survivors and friends but knows God watches over law enforcement officers in their duties.
After the ceremony, officers walked with a riderless horse led by sheriff's Deputy Jon Levi to the courthouse square where Fraternal Order of Police members placed a wreath near a monument listing the names of officers killed in the line of duty.