Officers who lost their lives in 2019, 2020 added to monument
Editor's Note: To see more photos from today's event, click here. For video of the ceremony, click here. Credit – Department of Criminal Justice Training's Communications Office.
RICHMOND, Ky. (June 3, 2020) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear, along with the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation (KLEMF) and the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT), honored the Kentucky law enforcement officers who lost their lives in 2019 and 2020.
"Today we come together to remember our heroes who served the commonwealth with pride, dignity and honor," Gov. Beshear said during the 21st annual memorial ceremony. "Let's honor those lost, remember their families and remind our communities that we stand together with them in gratitude to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Through this tradition of remembrance, our heroes can live on forever."
The Governor said that sadly five officer names have been added to the KLEMF monument this year including four officers who passed away in 2020 and one who passed away in 2019. A memorial ceremony was not held in 2020 in response to safety precautions from the COVID-19 nationwide pandemic.
This year's ceremony honored:
- Knott County Chief Deputy Bobby Wayne Jacobs, end of watch Dec. 16, 2019. Chief Deputy Jacobs suffered a fatal heart attack stemming from an earlier incident.
- Stanton Police Detective James T. Kirk, end of watch Feb. 11, 2020. Detective Kirk suffered a fatal heart attack following a struggle with an armed subject.
- Hopkins County Sheriff's Deputy Terry L. Vick, end of watch April 22, 2020. Deputy Vick was killed in a car crash.
- Louisville Metro Police Officer Martez Hughes, end of watch Nov. 19, 2020. Officer Hughes died from complications from COVID-19 during a presumed exposure while assigned to deliver meals as part of the city's Meals on Wheels program.
- Bloomfield Chief E. Scott Dennis, end of watch Dec. 4, 2020. Chief Dennis died from a COVID-19 exposure.
KLEMF seeks to recognize all Kentucky peace officers who gave their lives in service to the commonwealth. The monument, located on DOCJT's campus, holds 558 names of Kentucky officers who have died in the line of duty since 1845.
DOCJT Commissioner Nicolai Jilek also spoke at the event recognizing the fallen men and women heroes and those who continue to serve in their honor.
"We are forever indebted to the officers who gave their lives in service to the Commonwealth," Commissioner Jilek said. "We are forever grateful for those who continue to choose this profession each day. This is not an easy job, and there are few jobs where you voluntarily leave home each day knowing that, through the course of your duties, you may not return home. And yet, you choose it anyway because you understand the magnitude of the work you do to keep our communities safe."
The memorial foundation was established in 1999 to build the monument to Kentucky officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Once the monument was completed in 2000, the organization expanded its efforts to include an ongoing financial endowment program, which helps Kentucky peace officers and their families with educational, medical and emergency needs.