Fraternal Order of Police, Sevier County honor deceased law officers
Sevier County officials and the Smoky Mountain Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 31 honored the memories of deceased local law enforcement officers Thursday, with their annual observance of National Peace Officers Memorial Day.
The holiday was signed into law in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, who proclaimed May 15 as the day "to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime."
Sevier County has lost only two peace officers in the line of duty — Sevierville Police Chief L. Newton Bogart on July 20, 1941, and Gatlinburg Police Officer Jerry Dean Huskey on June 14, 1975 — but officials here remember all former officers who have served.
"I thank you for gathering here today to pay homage to officers that have gone on before," District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, the afternoon's keynote speaker, said.
"Police officers here in Sevier County, Tenn., and all across the United States, all across the world, police officers are called upon to do something different ... and that's to protect and to serve the citizens which they are serving. Their life can be taken from them in any moment's notice."
Officer Leia Loveday of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office read the names of each deceased member of the local sheriff's office, police department and highway patrol.
"Just because they didn't die in the line of duty doesn't mean we shouldn't honor somebody who's given their time and effort to the community, so we incorporated that in (this year)," Officer Chuck McDonald of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, who organizes the annual event, said.
He was approached with the idea by coworker Sgt. Lynn Breeden, who's spearheading a plan to recognize every local deceased officer with a special gravemarker denoting their service.
Additionally, Scott Hall, a local attorney and representative for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, also awarded two honors to current officers for exemplary service — Michael Trentham of Sevier County Sheriff's Office and Sevierville Police Chief Don Myers.
"We are recognizing these officers for their service to the community when called upon to protect the citizens of Sevier County and the state of Tennessee," Hall said. "We thank them for their service."
For more information on Breeden's project, or to get him the name or burial place of a deceased officer, call the sheriff’s office at 453-4668, Lynn Breeden at 680-2759 or Detective Katherine Breeden at 659-2325; or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.