Fallen officers honored on Peace Officers Memorial Day

Published 6:38 am Thursday, May 18, 2017

STANFORD – There were 135 law enforcement officers in the U.S. who were killed in the line of duty last year. Groups across the nation paused Monday to remember and honor those lives on National Peace Officers Memorial Day. 

“In 1962, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officer Memorial Day,” Stanford Police Detective Tim Morris told a crowd gathered in Stanford Monday morning. “It’s a time when we pay tribute to state, federal and local law enforcement officers who have given their lives and fallen in the line of duty.”

The proclamation also designated the week of May 15 as Police Week, Morris said. 

 An event, hosted by the Lincoln County Masonic Lodge No. 60 and  Blue Knights of Kentucky, Chapter 11, invited local law enforcement, dignitaries and residents to pay tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

“There are a lot of people to be remembered,” Morris said. 

Stanford Police Chaplain Nick Manzie led the group in prayer before introducing the North Point Honor Guard and Somerset Honor Guard who conducted a flag-lowering ceremony. 

The honor guards lowered and removed the Commonwealth, city and American flags before replacing them with new flags and raising them to half staff. 

A new “Thin Blue Line” flag was raised to half staff. 

Police Chief Zach Middleton spoke next and shared details about two former Lincoln County law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty: Police Chief Thomas Martin (1931) and Patrolman Gary Kidwell (1991). 

A procession of police traveled to the Buffalo Springs Cemetery prior to the flag-lowering ceremony to pause at the graves of former Mayor Elect T.J. Hill, who was a retired Stanford Police officer, as well as the graves of Sheriff Thomas Napier and Martin. 

Kentucky State Police Trooper Storm Stevens recognized Trooper Herbert Bush who was killed in 1958 before Brandy Durman, the wife of former Lexington Police Officer Brian Durman, spoke about her husband and the ultimate sacrifice he made while serving. 

“We came to stand in solidarity with our community to the let the families of the fallen know that they will not be forgotten today and every day,” Durman, a Lincoln County native, said. “On April 29, 2010, at 10:26 p.m., 15 minutes after he (Brian Durman) called to tell our four-year-old son goodnight, he was killed.” 

Durman was intentionally struck and killed by a vehicle, simply because of the uniform he wore, his wife said. 

“Our story is tragic, but this story is not just our own,” she said. “Approximately 130 officers never make it home to their friends and family every year.”

Through the tragedy, Durman said she has found strength in helping others who have been through the same and in 2016, she was elected president of the organization Kentucky Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors. 

“If you have never heard of us, we are a support agency comprised of family members and coworkers of fallen officers. We provide counseling, retreats and several events each year so that those left behind can fellowship with one another to make the burden a little bit easier to bear,” she said. 

Before dismissing the crowd, Tim Estes spoke directly to the law enforcement officers present. 

“Just know that the silent majority loves you, the silent majority prays for you, the silent majority is with you and behind you,” Estes said.

“Those people who are naysayers, they are just the few. The many of us know how proud we are to call you friends, to call you neighbors and to call you proud americans who go to your job every day and we pray that you make it home safe every night.”