Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor told students attending the annual Police Memorial Day ceremony they were in the midst of heroes.
“I know it is common for younger people to look at athletes, movie stars, rock stars as your heroes. If you want to see a real hero, turn around and look at the officers standing behind us. Those are your real heroes,” Taylor said during her keynote remarks May 6 on the Miami County Courthouse Plaza.
Nearby stood officers from departments across the county along with the county’s police memorial.
“Those are the people that you should emulate and celebrate every single day. This is a great community and an honor to be here to remember and celebrate the lives of the officers who have gone before us,” Taylor said.
The county Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 58 puts on the annual ceremony.
The lieutenant governor said there is much going on that impacts every officer in the state. She mentioned briefly Gov. John Kasich’s recent announcement of a task force to look at how communities and police officers can have a better relationship.
“Our goal is to protect the officers who serve us. They put their lives in danger every single day … never knowing what situation they might confront,” Taylor said.
County FOP President Billie Ray said the ceremony recognizes not only the officers who have fallen but also their families and survivors.
“Our seven fallen officers gave their lives for our community, so we could be safer, so we could live our lives in peace. They gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Ray said.
Those recognized in the roll call of fallen officers were: Marshall Harvey Hake, Covington police, who died Jan. 12, 1917; Ptlm. George Eickmeyer, Tipp City Police, Sept. 17, 1945; Lt. Noah D. Studebaker, Piqua Police, Oct. 17, 1957; Ptlm. Jan Mulder II, Piqua police, Aug. 11, 1970; Sgt. William R. Morris, Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Nov. 22, 1972; Det. Robert Taylor, Piqua Police, Nov. 3, 1982; and Sgt. Robert Elliott, Sheriff’s Office, Feb. 25, 1987.
Ray said 126 officers died in the line of duty across the country in 2014. Of those, 47 officers were killed by gunfire and of those, nine were ambushed.
“These were deliberate and, sadly, successful efforts by individuals who set out to kill a police officer. Officers have always been in harms way, it is our job to protect others, but it should not be part of the job to be the target of a hate fueled assassin who is looking to simply kill a cop,” Ray said. “We do not, and should not, accept the fact that our uniforms alone make us targets.”