Local officials and members of the public joined officers from around the county in front of the Crawford County Courthouse on Monday afternoon for an annual memorial ceremony honoring the sacrifice of police officers who died in the line of duty.
County law enforcement have observed Police Memorial Day publicly for at least the past 30 years in remembrance of the brave men and women whose loss of life in duty is otherwise known only to few, according to Dorian Adamik, Cambridge Springs police patrolman and president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 108 in Crawford County.
Officers memorialized at the ceremony “performed their duties unflinchingly” even up to their deaths, Adamik said, urging the public and fellow officers to “hold them and their loved ones in your hearts.”
Each officer attending in uniform wore a black stripe across his or her badge in remembrance of fallen officers.
Two Pennsylvania patrolmen were honored in particular, having passed in the line of duty in 2013. The only recorded Pennsylvania officer killed in 2014 was K9 officer Rocco of Pittsburgh Police Department, according to Officer Down Memorial Page, odmp.org.
William Jerry McCarthy IV of the Shenango Township Police Department was struck and killed May 2, 2013, while responding to the area of a pursuit in New Castle, Adamik said, citing the website.
The subject vehicle reportedly ran a stop sign and crashed into the passenger side of the cruiser, where McCarthy was seated.
Patrolman Daniel “J.J.” Lomax of Forest City Borough Police Department was electrocuted by a downed wire while assisting a driver involved in an accident on June 22, 2013, in Susquehanna County, Adamik read.
Lomax was reportedly en route home following his shift that day.
“Police work is dangerous work,” said Francis Schultz, Crawford County’s district attorney. “Yet knowing this, they do (the) job every single day.”
Whether pulling over a vehicle or entering a residence, even routinely, hidden dangers may await officers, he said.
He asked attendees to join in honoring and thanking all police officers for “an outstanding job well done.”
No Crawford County officers were reported to have died in duty since 2000. Three regional officers were reported to have been killed in the line of duty between 2000 and 2010.
So far this year, Officer Down Memorial Page reported 41 line of duty deaths, with March being the deadliest month, seeing the loss of 12 officers, Adamik said. Most of the deaths were the result of gunfire, followed by motor vehicle accidents.
The vast majority of fallen officers were male, according to the site, with the average age being 40 and the average tour of duty listed as 12 years, 10 months.
Monday’s ceremony closed with a rifle salute to fallen officers and the playing of “Taps.”
Attending officers also placed a commemorative wreath inside the courthouse.
“We try and have an observance each year to do our part and make sure fallen officers in (Pennsylvania) are honored and remembered,” Adamik said. “These officers gave their lives serving others. The very least we can do is honor their memory and perform our duties the way they did.”
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.