Memorial bench unveiled for a recently discovered canine line-of-duty death
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 24, 2023) – Today, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and the Kentucky State Police (KSP) hosted a memorial ceremony to honor 37 fallen troopers, officers, highway patrolmen and one canine unit.
“The Kentucky State Police play a crucial role in law enforcement throughout the commonwealth, making them the backbone of safety and security," Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “These 37 individuals who gave their lives in service are worthy of the highest honors, because they truly are the best of us."
KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr. addressed the family members of the fallen officers, saying that the sacrifices their loved ones made will never be forgotten.
“While we can't bring your heroes back, we can keep their memories alive," said Commissioner Burnett. “As family members, you sacrificed when they served and when they died. You must know this agency is eternally grateful and we will never forget them."
Burnett announced that an additional unit is being added to KSP's memorial this year. Research conducted by the agency uncovered a KSP German Shepherd canine named Orofino was shot and killed Sept. 23, 1991, during a surveillance operation in Breathitt County. Orofino was a 4-year veteran at the time of his passing.
KSP submitted Orofino's paperwork to the National Officer Down Registry in December 2022. Orofino met the criteria for a line-of-duty death and has been added to the National Officer Down Memorial Page.
KSP's Canine Branch, which includes 20 troopers and 25 canines, designed a memorial bench for Orofino and unveiled it during the memorial ceremony. The Kentucky State Police Professional Association (KSPPA) provided funding for the bench to be located at KSP Training Academy.
The six Kentucky Highway Patrolmen who have died in the line of duty, including their end-of-watch date, are:
Patrolman James P. Hays: Dec. 21, 1935;
Patrolman Robert Rowland: Dec. 22, 1935;
Capt. Vernon Snell: Feb. 20, 1937;
Patrolman Moses H. Littrell: March 14, 1938;
Patrolman Houston Greene: May 18, 1944; and
Patrolman Vadas G. Richardson: October 7, 1944
The 31 troopers and officers who have died in the line of duty, including their end-of-watch date, are:
Trooper Harold J. Toll: Nov. 14, 1948;
Trooper Robert R. Miller: Feb. 14, 1951;
Trooper Lee T. Huffman: May 19, 1953;
Trooper Herbert C. Bush: Oct. 11, 1958;
Trooper William E. Tevis: May 26, 1963;
Trooper Elmer Mobley, Jr.: May 28, 1964;
Trooper Cecil W. Uzzle: May 28, 1964;
Trooper Delano G. Powell: July 8, 1965;
Trooper Mack E. Brady: Nov. 9, 1966;
Trooper William H. Barrett: Dec. 19, 1971;
Trooper James W. McNeely: April 8, 1972;
Officer David T. Childs: April 8, 1972;
Trooper Walter O. Thurtell: Sept. 29, 1972;
Trooper Joseph Ward, Jr.: April 23, 1973;
Lt. William C. Smith: April 26, 1973;
Trooper John W. Hutchinson: June 4, 1975;
Trooper Bobby A. McCoun Jr.: Sept. 1, 1975;
Trooper William F. Pickard: Jan. 21, 1976;
Lieutenant Willis D. Martin: April 26, 1977;
Trooper Clinton E. Cunningham: Feb. 11, 1979;
Trooper Edward R. Harris: Nov. 7, 1979;
Trooper Jerome S. Clifton: Oct. 1, 1980;
Detective Darrell V. Phelps: Aug. 7, 1981;
Trooper Johnny M. Edrington: Dec. 20, 1988;
Trooper Johnny G. Adkins: Nov. 19, 1995;
Officer Jason W. Cammack: April 23, 2000;
Trooper Jonathan K. Leonard: Dec. 19, 2006;
Trooper Anson B. Tribby: Jan. 22, 2013;
Trooper Eric K. Chrisman: June 23, 2015;
Sgt. David R. Gibbs: Aug. 7, 2015; and
Trooper J. Cameron Ponder: Sept. 13, 2015
The fallen Trooper and Officer Memorial is on the KSP webpage at https://kentuckystatepolice.org/fallenmemorial/.
Editor's Note: To download photos from the Memorial Service, click here.
Beshear-Coleman Administration Commitment to Public Safety
The Beshear-Coleman administration's top priority is the safety of all Kentuckians. The Governor's public safety actions are creating safer communities and a better Kentucky now and into the future.
Since taking office, Gov. Beshear has awarded almost $8 million in grant funding to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in purchasing the tools and resources that will not only allow them to protect Kentucky communities but also ensure their personal safety as they stand on the front lines every day.
In July 2022, the Governor announced additional steps to enhance public and officer safety, including funding for a new firearms training facility, a Western Kentucky training site feasibility study and an increased training stipend for law enforcement officers.
In April 2022, the Governor signed legislation he championed the previous year that funds a $15,000 raise for all troopers and a starting pay increase for sworn officers from $37,887 to $55,888 annually. In signing Senate Bill 209, Gov. Beshear established paid vacation, sick leave and holiday pay, as well as enhanced health insurance contribution payments for retired KSP troopers and commercial vehicle enforcement officers.
Also, as the Governor recommended in January 2022, $12.2 million was included in the state budget for KSP to purchase body cameras, which is the first time in the commonwealth's history that funding has been allocated for this much-needed expense. Earlier this year, KSP demonstrated the new recording system, which will be distributed to approximately 780 sworn personnel.