The Times West Virginian

Opinion

May 15, 2013

Peace Officers Memorial Day: Honoring those who keep us safe

Today, all U.S. and West Virginia state flags will be lowered to half staff in memory of the officers who died in the line of duty, making this state and this country a safer place to live, for Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Flags will be lowered for U.S. Deputy Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller, who was shot and killed in 2011 while serving a warrant for an arrest in Elkins. The suspect was wanted for a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and as deputy marshals and State Troopers entered the residence, they were fired upon by the suspect armed with a shotgun. Hotsinpiller was shot in the neck and died.

End of watch: Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

Flags will be lowered for Monongalia County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Todd May, who was killed while in the pursuit of a suspect involved in a vehicle chase in 2012. A car had been involved in a hit-and-run accident in West Virginia, and the driver refused to exit his vehicle 20 minutes later, speeding off toward Pennsylvania on Interstate 79. The driver turned onto I-79 southbound, heading back toward West Virginia, and about one mile from the state line, crashed into May’s patrol car as he waited for the pursuit to reach him.

End of watch: Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012

Flags will be lowered for Trooper Eric Workman and Cpl. Marshall Bailey, who stopped a vehicle in a parking lot along I-79 in Clay County last summer after the driver appeared to be intoxicated. After placing him under arrest, the suspect was able to reach a concealed pistol and shot and killed Bailey, who died on scene. Workman was rushed to CAMC General Hospital, where he died after two days on life support.

End of watch: Friday, Aug. 31, 2012

Flags will be lowered for Sheriff Eugene Crum, who had held his head high when he took his oath of office in January. He vowed to clean up a massive drug problem that had infected Mingo County, and he was making extraordinary headway. He sat in his cruiser one afternoon, watching a building where there had been an illegal pharmaceutical operation — something that he did on a regular basis to make sure that activity didn’t start back up. A suspect walked up to the car, shot Crum four times at point-blank range, killing him in the blink of an eye.

End of watch: Wednesday, April 3, 2013

You didn’t have to know the West Virginia peace officers who have been violently killed in the past two years to grieve with the state and nation. You just have to know that they put on a uniform and a shield to serve and protect. Up to the moment of their deaths, they selflessly put themselves between everything that’s wrong with the world to preserve everything that’s right.

We honor them today, as well as all men and women who continue to put on a uniform each and every day. We know that our children and our families are safer because they are a presence in our neighborhoods, our communities, our cities and our state.

We pray for their safety as they continue to work toward our own.

We pray for their families as they protect our own.

And we pray that we’ll never have to lay to rest another peace officer.

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