A dedication ceremony and candlelight vigil is planned Nov. 19 to unveil the new Pottawatomie County Fallen Heroes Memorial in front of the courthouse in Shawnee.
The memorial will include the names of 17 law enforcement officers who have died in Pottawatomie County since the late 1800s.
The list includes sheriffs and deputies from the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office, as well as chiefs, officers and constables from the Shawnee, Tecumseh and McLoud police departments.
Pottawatomie County Undersheriff Travis Palmer said the dedication ceremony and candlelight vigil begins at 6 p.m. Monday in front of the courthouse, located 325 N. Broadway.
Palmer said they are extending a public invitation to any relatives or descendents of the fallen officers in hopes the relatives can attend the dedication ceremonies.
"We would like any family there," Palmer said, asking those relatives attending to let deputies know who they are when they arrive so the family members can be recognized during the ceremony. The public also is invited to attend.
A cement slab base for memorial is already in place and the granite monument will be installed Monday morning but will remain covered until the unveiling that evening.
During the ceremony, law enforcement honor guards will conduct a 21-gun salute and a Bethel High School student from the Bethel Band will play Taps, Palmer said.
Palmer said a memorial to honor those killed in the line of duty is long overdue in Pottawatomie County.
Having a memorial built was an idea many had before Reserve Deputies Mike Roberts and Tim Lowry were killed in the line of duty last year, Palmer said, but their deaths prompted the project to move forward as donations and fundraisers commenced to pay for the $8,500 memorial.
"It's something we thought should have been done a long time ago," Palmer said.
The undersheriff said he appreciates all those who have contributed to the project through donations or participation in fundraisers.
He also appreciates the county commissioners for allowing them to use a corner section of the courthouse lawn for the memorial's permanent home.
The front of the monument will read "Pottawatomie County Fallen Heroes Memorial," and will include the names of those being remembered. The back will include a saying, "Heroes Live Forever," and also will have the Pottawatomie County law enforcement badge.
Listed below are the officers to be listed on the memorial, including information about their deaths from the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial website.
• Will Turner, Deputy Sheriff, Pottawatomie County
Deputy Turner was searching for Bob Christian, one of the notorious Christian brothers, with a warrant for his arrest for grand larceny. On April 27, 1895, Deputy Turner located Christian near the town of Violet Springs, one of the most lawless border towns in Oklahoma Territory. Christian was with three other men, his brother Bill Christian, "Buttermilk" John Mackey and Foster Holbrook. Turner confronted all four men. Christian told Turner to keep his warrant and drew his gun. Turner was able to fire first and hit Christian in the chest, which only knocked him down since Christian was wearing a steel vest plate. All four men opened fire on the deputy, killing him. All four were tracked down and arrested. Following their trials, Holbrook was acquitted, Mackey was sentenced to two years and the two Christian brothers both received 10-year sentences. Bob and Bill Christian were in the Oklahoma County jail appealing their cases on June 30, 1895, when they escaped with James Casey and killed Oklahoma City Police Chief Milton Jones. Bill Christian was killed by a posse in Arizona in 1897. Bob Christian escaped and was never located.
Page 2 of 4 - • Marrion K. Farral, Chief, Shawnee Police Department
About noon on Thursday, Oct. 17, 1907, Chief Farral had gone to the Shawnee Transfer Company to talk to John Curtis Barber about a complaint Barber's wife had filed against him for adultery. The chief and Barber walked out the rear door together, when witnesses heard the sound of a heavy blow being struck but did not see it. The witnesses found the Chief bleeding heavily from a blow to the head as Barber ran away. The chief died eight hours later. Barber was later arrested and charged with the chief's murder.
• Arthur D. Arnett, McLoud city marshal
At 2:05 a.m. on April 21, 1911, Marshal Arnett, 31, was making his rounds when he noticed the cellar door ajar on John Seikel's store which was secure on his last round an hour earlier. Arnett opened the door and found two men hiding just inside the door. He ordered them out and as they were coming up out of the cellar, the second man started shooting. One shot hit Arnett in the head above the right ear, killing him.
• Jerry Spann, Chief, Shawnee Police Department
Jerry Spann served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Oklahoma Territory. After statehood, he was appointed as assistant chief of police in Shawnee under Chief C.C. Hawk. Spann succeeded Hawk as chief. In 1918, Chief Spann had arrested a man and was taking him to jail when the man began fighting with him. During the fight, Spann suffered a head injury that later developed into cancer. Spann sought treatment, unsuccessfully, as far away as the Mayo Clinic, but died March 26, 1920.
• J.R. Lindsay, Deputy Sheriff, Pottawatomie County
On Sunday, Nov. 14, 1926, Lindsay was trailing some robbers when he stopped in Meeker and began talking to Lincoln County Deputy Sheriff Dan M. Fuller, who was demonstrating how he drew his gun when some men tried to rob him recently. The hammer of Fuller's gun caught on his key chain causing the gun to fire. The bullet fatally wounded Lindsay and Fuller was charged with manslaughter.
• Grover C. Butler, Chief, Tecumseh Police Department
Grover Butler had served as sheriff of Pottawatomie County from 1921 until 1925. He became Tecumseh's chief of police in 1928. About 1:30 a.m. on April 18, 1932, Butler was making his rounds behind the Tecumseh Post Office. As he walked down the alley, he was shot once in the back and once in the abdomen by Joe Smith who had been crouched under a porch at the rear of the building. Smith had openly threatened Butler after he was arrested several times by the chief. Chief Butler emptied his revolver at the fleeing Smith but missed him. Butler, 47, died eight hours later after he gave a dying statement identifying Smith as his shooter. Smith was found guilty of the murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
Page 3 of 4 - • Claude James Bowen, Captain, Shawnee Police Department and Robert Arthur Warlick, Detective, Shawnee Police Department
Shortly before 6 p.m. on May 31, 1934, Captain Bowen and Detective Warlick were returning from a call in the eastern part of Shawnee when they were involved in an automobile accident at East Highland and Harrison Street. Warlick was crushed into the steering wheel and Bowen was thrown from the car, striking a fireplug causing a fractured skull and a broken right shoulder. Warlick died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Bowen died August 13, 1935, having never fully recovered from his injuries.
• Walter C Mosier, Sheriff, Pottawatomie County
Sheriff Mosier had gone to Mount Pleasant, Texas with N.J. Jacobs, a GM employee, to repossess a car and was returning with it on Feb. 16, 1937. Jacobs was driving the repossessed car followed by Mosier. As they approached Antlers, they entered a newly-graveled portion of the highway. A car ahead of them was leaving a heavy dust cloud so Jacobs pulled off the road to let the dust settle. Sheriff Mosier passed him and drove into the dust cloud, colliding head on with a truck. Sheriff Mosier died before arriving at a Hugo hospital.
• John A. Armstrong, Constable, City of Tecumseh
Constable John Armstrong, 59, and Constable John Parman went to the farm of Jake Alexander about on July 11, 1940, to serve a judgment against Alexander for an unpaid bill of $7.10 worth of gasoline plus court costs for a total of less than $15. When Alexander told the officers he could not pay the judgment at that time, the constables advised him they would have to take his car as collateral until he could pay it. Alexander walked back inside his house and returned with a 16-gauge shotgun. When the officers started toward him, Alexander shot Armstrong in the upper chest and neck, severing his juggler vein. Armstrong died shortly afterwards.
• Frank Crews, Deputy Sheriff, Pottawatomie County
On Sept. 5, 1953, Deputy Crews and Undersheriff A. I. Rutherford went to the Denham Hotel at Ninth and Union in Shawnee concerning a man pulling a gun on another man. As the officers approached the west entrance to the hotel they were met by Jess Stalcup, 75. The officers stopped and questioned him. While they were talking to Stalcup, the complainant came out of the hotel and identified Stalcup as the man with the gun. Stalcup drew a concealed .45 automatic pistol and emptied it toward the officers. Crews was hit four times. Rutherford and two bystanders were also wounded. Rutherford shot Stalcup three times. Both Crews, 54, and Stalcup died at the scene.
•Odos Neal Smith, Deputy Sheriff, Pottawatomie County
On Feb. 3, 1963, a McLoud constable arrested Thomas A. Rittenhouse who had been hitchhiking carrying a rifle. When the constable learned Rittenhouse was AWOL from an Air Force Base in Kansas, he arrested him. The constable contacted Deputy Smith at his home to assist him in transporting Rittenhouse to the county jail. Shortly after 10 p.m., the constable was driving to Shawnee with the deputy and prisoner in the back seat. Neither men noticed the automatic pistol Rittenhouse was carrying in a shoulder holster and his hands were handcuffed in front of him. One mile east of Dale on Highway 270, Rittenhouse drew that weapon and shot Smith four times in the chest, leg and shoulders. The constable wrecked the vehicle and the suspect jumped out. Smith tried to pursue the suspect but collapsed in the roadway. A passing vehicle struck the deputy in the highway. Rittenhouse surrendered to the constable at the scene.
Page 4 of 4 - • David Wayne Clark, Patrolman, Shawnee Police Department
Clark, 22, became involved in a high-speed pursuit on Kickapoo Street about 4 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16, 1980. The pursuit continued to about three miles north of Shawnee where Clark lost control of his police car. The unit ran off the road and down an embankment, where it overturned and burst into flames.
• William M. Phillips, Sheriff, Pottawatomie County
On Dec. 3, 1980, Sheriff Phillips was involved in a traffic accident at the intersection of Market and MacArthur streets in Shawnee. One of his legs was badly broken and required surgery. He was released from the hospital on Dec. 23. Shortly after noon on Christmas Day, Sheriff Phillips died from a heart attack caused by a blood clot from the injury.
• Glen G. Collins, Lake Ranger, Shawnee Police Department
At 11:43 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005, Ranger Collins, 72, was northbound on State Highway 102 in his city pickup when he attempted to turn left onto Belcher Road. An 18-wheel gravel truck southbound on the highway struck Collins' pickup broadside on the passenger side, causing it to flip. Collins had been a Lake Ranger for Shawnee for 38 years.
• Timothy Evan Lowry and Michael Don Roberts, Reserve Deputies, Pottawatomie County
On Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, Reserve Deputies "Tim" Lowry and "Mike" Roberts were working as a team for the warrant section of the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office when their patrol unit topped a hill and collided with a tractor-trailer rig on SH 39 east of Asher. Both deputies died at the scene.