Father Kevin Lutz has a lot of heroes, and law enforcement officers are near the top of his list — with good reason.
His best friend was late Columbus Police Officer Thomas R. Hayes. When the priest met Officer Hayes within 12 hours of the shooting that left him paralyzed from the waist down, the police officer said he had forgiven his shooter and was praying for him. He maintained that attitude until he died from complications 31 years later.
Officer Hayes was among six Ohio law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty last year. The six, along with six historical nominees, were honored in May at the 25th annual Ohio Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in London. The ceremony drew hundreds of officers from across the state and more than 100 family members and friends of the fallen.
“Our commitment today as we observe this solemn ceremony is that we will not forget. We will remember. We will honor (these peace officers) and the sacrifice they have made,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “And … we will remember the families and loved ones who continue to carry on.”
Widow Holly Miktarian also spoke. Her husband and fellow Twinsburg police officer Joshua Miktarian was shot during a traffic stop in 2008. “This memorial honors the sacrifice my husband made and the sacrifice of all fallen Ohio peace officers,” she said. “I am proud to be here every year.”
Ohio law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty in 2011 and honored at the May 3, 2012, Ohio Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony in London:
- Deputy Suzanne M. Hopper of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, shot Jan. 1, 2011, while responding to a report of gunshots at a campground
- Officer Thomas R. Hayes of the Columbus Division of Police, who died Jan. 20, 2011, from complications resulting from a gunshot wound sustained in 1979
- Officer Jonathan V. Bastock of the Stow Police Department, who died Feb. 5, 2011, from complications resulting from an on-duty injury
- Capt. Daniel Stiles of the Uniontown Police Department, who was hit by a car while directing traffic near a school on Feb. 15, 2011
- Officer Andrew S. Dunn of the Sandusky Police Department, shot while confronting a suspect on March 19, 2011
- Sgt. Brian S. Dulle of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, who died May 10, 2011, after being struck by a suspect’s vehicle