National Police Week, from May 14 to May 20, is a time where citizens across the nation are able to pay tribute to the local, state, and federal peace officers who have died, or who have been disabled, in the line of duty.
Peace Officers' Memorial Day, which falls within National Police Week, will be celebrated in Newton at 11:30 a.m. on May 18, at the monument in front of the Harvey County Law Enforcement Center (120 E. Seventh St.).
Community Chaplain Response Team's Jason Reynolds said the event will include an invocation prayer, a moment of silence for the officers lost in Harvey County, a message on the service and value of officers in the community by a chaplain and a prayer for the safety of officers still serving within the community.
Afterwards, Reynolds said law enforcement officers are invited to attend a special appreciation luncheon.
"I think this year is significant because we've had some pretty significant events in the last year – between the two triple homicides and the Excel shooting," Reynolds said. "When you look at all that our law enforcement officers in the county have done for us – in the county and in the city – this has been a pretty eventful year for them, and I think that taking this moment just to say, 'thank you' and 'we've appreciated everything you've done to keep us safe' is really important this year."
"This is a very important time for all of us and it hits us very closely because a lot of the officers at work today worked with Kurt Ford," said Newton Police Department Lt. of Support Services Bryan Hall.
Hall noted that Ford's nephew still works as an officer for the department and that it is important to remember officers' sacrifices.
Four officers Hall has personally known or professionally worked along side have been murdered in the line of duty.
"I think that's really what separates law enforcement from other dangerous jobs," Hall said. "There are plenty of dangerous jobs out there and I don't want to take anything away from them, but I don't know too many jobs where people are murdered for the job they do."
There is a disturbing trend where officers are not only murdered by those trying to get away with crimes, Hall said, but also where officers are being ambushed or executed just for being officers.
"It's (really) difficult for the law enforcement families – to talk to a widow or orphans and explain to them that their father's not coming home, not because of an industrial accident or some unforeseen thing, but because someone decided to murder them for the work that they do," Hall said.
Hall said that factor separates the law enforcement officer memorial day from other industries.
"It hits us close," Hall said "we really like to honor these officers and keep their sacrifices in our hearts and minds.
In closing, Hall said he hopes the community will come out for the event to be a part of the remembrance. While the event only lasts about 15 minutes, the show of support for local officers and the sacrifices of local heroes means a lot.
The following is a list of county or city officers who gave their lives in the line of duty:
Carlos B. King (End of Watch – Sept. 23, 1871)
Carlos B. King was hired as a police officer by the citizens of what is now Newton in September 1871. As Newton was still part of Sedgwick County at the time, King was also a Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy.
On Sept. 23, 1871, King ordered a man named Thomas Edwards to give up his gun and to leave town. Edwards did give up his gun and was thrown out of town. A couple of hours later Edwards, who had obtained a Derringer, approached King on the street, placed the gun to King's chest and fired, killing him. Edwards was never apprehended.
According to the record, a person whose name has been lost with time commented on the the tragedy, stating "thus perished Officer King, whom there was not a better gentleman, nor truer friend and no more respected man in Newton." King was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Newton.
Albert "Jack" Dufriend (End of Watch – Nov. 22, 1928)
Night Police Chief Albert Harmon "Jack" Dufriend was responding to the report of a robbery at (what at the time was) the Broadway grocery store with another night police officer, Paul Dutton. Dufriend had a lung hemorrhage, while en route to the call, and died shortly after being taken to the Rexall Drug Store by officer Dutton.
The hemorrhaging was believed to be a caused by a combination of Dufriend's asthma and the excitement of the call. Dufriend was buried in the Walton Cemetery.
Harry L. Bolin (End of Watch – June 17, 1932)
On June 15, 1932, Assistant Chief Harry L. Bolin, as well as two other officers, Patrolman Charles Kingsbury and Santa Fe Railroad Special Officer C.E. Atwell, were following a vehicle suspected of transporting illegal alcohol.
While the police car was being driven without headlights, in an attempt to get closer to the suspect vehicle, it ran off the roadway and struck a culvert bannister on West Broadway.
Bolin, who broke a rib, which punctured his lung, died as a result of his injuries at 8:55 p.m. on June 17, 1932. Kingsbury and Atwell were also injured in the accident.
Bolin was survived by his wife, Ada, and 10-year-old son, Claude, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Kurt Ford (End of Watch April 9, 2005)
Harvey County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Ford, a member of the Harvey County Emergency Response Team (ERT), along with the rest of the ERT, responded to assist Newton police officers for a hostage call-out.
Newton Police responded to a domestic disturbance and when officers arrived, the suspect took a female hostage. Three hours into the standoff, the suspect started to attack the hostage. The ERT team made a forced entry and was met with gunfire from the suspect, who had two handguns. Ford was fatally shot in the head, and another ERT member was shot twice, but survived.
The suspect, who was a previously convicted felon, remained barricaded for another five hours before being arrested.
The suspect was convicted of capitol murder and sentenced to life in prison. Ford was survived by his wife and two sons.