05/11/05 — Memorial service remembers officers killed in line of duty

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Memorial service remembers officers killed in line of duty

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 11, 2005 1:50 PM

Nine Wayne County law-enforcement officers who died in the line of duty were remembered today at the county's annual law enforcement memorial service at Wayne Community College.

"No other names were added to the wall this year," Goldsboro Police Chief Tim Bell said. "This is something we can be very thankful for, but it's so important that we never forget the officers who have given up their lives in Wayne County so that we can be safe.

Memorial service

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Mike Kabler salutes the colors today during the Wayne County Law Enforcement Memorial service.

"This is not a sorrowful event, but a rejoiceful event to remember their lives and what they stood for," Bell said.

Last year, 153 police officers in the U.S. lost their lives while on duty, including five in North Carolina.

Mount Olive Police Chief Emmett Ballree said the help provided to the public by police officers and deputies never fades. Today's gathering, he said, honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"We rely on God for strength and look to each other for support and to our fallen brothers for inspiration," Ballree said. "Their strength and courage will give us strength and courage to do the job. Let's pray we don't have to add another name to the monument."

Fremont Police Chief Ben Reid asked the audience to "remember those officers and to grieve with their families and friends."

Highway Patrol Sgt. Will Thurston said the deaths of two state troopers last year "goes to show how dangerous this job is."

Sheriff Carey Winders said local law-enforcement officers are "the nation's first line of defense and the peacekeepers of this great land. ... Every day we put our own lives in jeopardy. We do this knowing that we could leave family and friends behind."

In closing, Winders asked the audience to pray for officers' safety, guidance and wisdom.

To open the ceremony, the sheriff's and police honor guards presented the colors. The agencies' chaplains, the Rev. Pete Williams and the Rev. Dr. Rick Cason, offered prayers. A wreath was laid at the monument. A rifle salute and the playing of Taps followed.

The Wayne County Emergency Services Memorial was established with public contributions and dedicated in 2002. The college provided the land. The Goldsboro Rotary Club landscaped the memorial.

Those listed on the memorial include:

*Sheriff's Capt. Jerry K. Best, who died Nov. 13, 2002, when he was struck by a vehicle while he was removing a dead deer from N.C. 581.

*State Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Martin, a Mount Olive native, who died July 21, 1988, from injuries received in a head-on collision with a truck as he pursued a fleeing motorcyclist near Reidsville.

*Fremont Police Chief Walter B. Braswell, who was shot to death Nov. 13, 1965, with his own weapon, as he tried to arrest a man during a domestic dispute.

*Goldsboro Police Officer Walter J. Rouse, who was fatally shot Feb. 27, 1968, while apprehending a man who had robbed a motel. Rouse's partner also was shot but survived.

*Goldsboro Police Lt. C. Frank Faircloth and Patrolman Mahlon M. Parks, who died Sept. 19, 1960, in a wreck while pursuing a suspected bootlegger on Stevens Mill Road.

*Goldsboro Police Officer Herbert C. Wiegand, who was killed March 9, 1940, after responding to a domestic call.

*State Highway Patrol Trooper I.T. Moore, who died June 18, 1937, of gunshot wounds suffered while questioning two suspects about the theft of 500 pounds of meat. One suspect shot Moore, and the trooper then killed the other. Moore was the first patrolman in North Carolina to be killed on duty.

*Sheriff John Coor Pender, a former state legislator, who was ambushed and murdered in 1816 while serving an arrest warrant. His 16-year-old son tracked the suspect to the Florida Everglades, arrested him and returned him to Wayne County, where he was tried, convicted and executed.

Others listed on the memorial are fire and rescue workers who died while performing their duty: Thoroughfare Fire Chief H. Sidney Jones, Arrington Fire Lt. Robby Blizzard and rescue personnel Kenneth Davis and James Hickman.