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Law Enforcement, Local Community Remember Fallen Officers At Service

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Honor Guard salute the flag lowered to half-staff at a ceremony for Peace Officer Memorial Day on May 15. A total of 14 officers from around the Columbia River Gorge who lost their lives in the line of duty over the years were commemorated during the ceremony. A bell was rung for each of the 14 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout the Columbia River Gorge over the years.

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Honor Guard salute the flag lowered to half-staff at a ceremony for Peace Officer Memorial Day on May 15. A total of 14 officers from around the Columbia River Gorge who lost their lives in the line of duty over the years were commemorated during the ceremony. A bell was rung for each of the 14 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout the Columbia River Gorge over the years. Photo by Amber Marra.

Law enforcement officers from across the Columbia River Gorge and members of the Bingen and White Salmon community gathered at Fireman’s Park last week to honor those who protect, serve, and some who have made the ultimate sacrifice to do so.

Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week have been observed since 1961 and the White Salmon City Council passed a resolution to honor law enforcement officers throughout the week of May 11 to 17 and those who have fallen in the line of duty especially on May 15.

After an invocation and welcome by Chaplin Jamie Adams during last Thursday’s ceremony, White Salmon Mayor Dave Poucher read the proclamation passed by the city council during their May 7 meeting.

“Whereas, it is important that all citizens know and understand the duties, responsibilities, hazards, and sacrifices of the law enforcement agencies and that members of the law enforcement agencies recognize their duty to serve the people by safeguarding life and property, by protecting them against violence and disorder, and by protecting the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression,” Poucher read.

Following the reading of the proclamation, Skamania County Sheriff Dave Brown spoke to the small crowd of law enforcement officers, public officials, and community members about the responsibilities they share and remembering those who have lost their lives.

“It is an honor and privilege to speak before you today on behalf of the law enforcement community of the Columbia River Gorge,” Brown said.

During his comments, Brown read from a speech made by Ohio State Supreme Court Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger during Peace Officers Memorial Day in 2011.

“We often forget to thank our good officers until circumstances force us to acknowledge how important their gift of service is. When a peace officer is killed, as the verse states, ‘a part of America dies,’” Brown read. “In such a tragic event some of us stand up and take notice. We recall the risk. We remind ourselves that random violent acts can rip the heart from a family at any time. That bullet or knife or car or fist might bring down a defender of the law and order at any time. In a sense, they’ve made themselves targets, for as law enforcement they’re expected to be there in the midst of violence.”

Following Brown’s remarks, Bingen-White Salmon Police Chief Tracy Wycoff read the names of the 14 law enforcement officials from across the Columbia River Gorge who have died in the line of duty. The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard also conducted a salute as the flag was lowered to half-staff while TAPs was played by Stevenson High School student, Nicholas Heuker. A rendition of Amazing Grace performed by Columbia High School student, Justin Ellis, followed.

For each name read, a bell was rung.

The names are as follows:

Indian Agent Andrew J. Bolon, Tribal Police

End of Watch: Sept. 23, 1855

Cause of Death: Assault

City Marshall Charles H. Keeler

The Dalles Police Department

End of Watch: Sept. 5, 1867

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Town Marshal Ralph Gibons

The Dalles Police Department

End of Watch: May 7, 1919

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Trooper John Gulden

Washington State Patrol

End of Watch: Dec. 22, 1942

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Trooper Delmon Rondeau

Oregon State Police

End of Watch: April 25, 1947

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Trooper Leroy H. Spickerman

Oregon State Police

End of Watch: Jan. 17, 1948

Cause of Death: Vehicle Crash

Deputy Robert E. Forrester

Wasco County Sheriff’s Office

End of Watch: Aug. 30, 1961

Cause of Death: Drowning

Deputy Arthur Wayne Skaar

Skamania County Sheriff’s Office

End of Watch: June 13, 1966

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Control Officer Joseph A. Modlin

Washington State Patrol

End of Watch Aug. 15, 1974

Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle

Deputy Danny Kerr Vaughn

Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office

End of Watch: Nov. 19, 1976

Cause of Death: Drowning

Deputy Douglas E. Smith

Sherman County Sheriff’s Office

End of Watch: Aug. 27, 1978

Cause of Death: Auto Accident

Deputy Michael J. McNabb

Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office

End of Watch: April 17, 1986

Cause of Death: Vehicular homicide

Officer Rod Henry

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Enforcement

End of Watch: Sept. 14, 1988

Cause of Death: Struck by train

Sergeant Peter D. Garland

Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office

End of Watch: July 18, 2007

Cause of Death: Vehicular homicide

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