Law enforcement officers from throughout the state joined grieving family members May 5 to remember the four Ohio officers who gave their lives in 2010 and honor a historical nominee.
Held on the grounds of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) in London, the Ohio Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony honored:
- Trooper Andrew C. Baldridge of the Bucyrus post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who was responding to a call for assistance when he died in a car accident Feb. 4
- Sgt. James A. Kerstetter of the Elyria Police Department, who was shot while confronting a suspect March 15
- Officer Thomas F. Patton II of the Cleveland Heights Police Department, who collapsed while pursuing a felony assault suspect on foot March 13
- Chief Carl E. Worley of the Ross Township Police Department, who was investigating a string of burglaries when he suffered a fatal heart attack Jan. 26
- Marshal John Vapenik of Maple Heights, who was nominated after his department discovered he was killed Aug. 28, 1920, while patrolling the streets for whiskey runners.
Their names are now etched on the Ohio Fallen Officers Memorial Wall at OPOTA along with those of 732 others who have died in the line of duty since 1823.
“The stories we share at this memorial may come from the history books or from recent headlines, but Ohio’s peace officers — regardless of when they gave their oath — have always faced great risk,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “The loss of these five is a sobering reminder of how real the risks are that they and their fellow officers willingly accept to serve and protect.”
For full coverage and photos from this year’s memorial, visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/2011PeaceOfficerMemorial