Knoxville area peace officers recognized in memorial service

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Law enforcement agencies in the Knoxville area remembered peace officers that passed away during the annual Knoxville-Knox County Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on Tuesday morning.

It’s a thankless job and all of Knoxville was thanking the men and women who wear a badge every day to protect all of us. May 15 was set aside as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day in an act signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville Police Department, University of Tennessee Police, University of Tennessee Medical Center Police, Tennessee Highway Patrol, TBI, FBI, and the Fraternal Order of Police Volunteer Lodge Number 2 participated in this annual event.

Families of the officers were escorted to a memorial wreath where they placed a flower in memory of their loved ones.

“It’s important to the family to have this recognition shown to your loved ones. It’s an honor,” said Rhodna French whose husband, Corrections Officer Ronald Dene French with KCSO passed away while working.

Each name was read as family placed a red rose in their memory on a wreath.

It was a painful day for French.

“My husband has been in Law enforcement for many years. He was very young, he was only 61 years old and he had a heart attack on the job.”

She was remembering that day from just months ago.

“That morning he left for work and we were married, that afternoon I came home a widow,” added French.

It was sacrifice so many at the ceremony also face as East Tennessee paused to recognize their commitment to help.

“There is a lot of criticism out there right now for our Law enforcement officers but I want us to draw attention to the men and women we see every single day who put on the badge and going out and doing an amazingly professional job,” said Pam Neal who is Chair of the Knoxville-Knox County Peace Officers’ Memorial.

So many of us are grateful for their work and their lives are never to be forgotten.

“I miss my husband terribly,” said French.

Two K-9 officers were also honored at the ceremony. It was the first time paying tribute to the K-9 officers at the Peace Officers’ Memorial service.

This year, the following officers were honored:

  • Lieutenant Larry Cash, KCSO
  • Corrections Officer Ronald “Dene” French, KCSO
  • Corrections Officer William Snider, KCSO
  • K9 Eiko, KCSO
  • K9 Nitro, KCSO
  • Special Agent Sam Allen, FBI
  • Special Agent in Charge William “Bill” E. Baugh, FBI
  • Special Agent Burl E. Cloninger, FBI
  • Special Agent James “Jim” Martin, FBI
  • Special Agent Richard “Rich” Poff, FBI
  • Special Agent Jeff M. Boggan, FBI
  • Officer Richard L. Ingram, KPD
  • Officer David S. Gaston, Sr., KPD
  • Captain Jack Moore, KPD
  • Lieutenant Jeffrey Dale “Jeff” Clift, KPD
  • Captain Fred Turner, KPD
  • Trooper Sandra Massengill, THP
  • Investigator Stephen Mims, THP
  • Officer Neagil Turner, THP
  • Sergeant Charles “Charlie” Edward Johnson, UTMCP
  • Chief of Police Hugh Griffin, UTPD

Nationally, May 15 is designated National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and the week containing May 15 is National Police Week.

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Source : http://wate.com/2015/05/12/knoxville-knox-county-peace-officers-memorial-service-recgonizes/

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