On Thursday, May 17, 2018, at 5 p.m. the Athens Police Department will stand in tribute to those who fell for this community.
As part of National Police Week, the department will host the annual Athens Police Memorial on the west side of the Limestone County Courthouse at the Law Enforcement Monument. The monument contains the names of nine officers from Athens Police, Limestone County Sheriff’s Department and Alabama State Troopers who died in the line of duty.
According to Officer Down Memorial Page, 53 officers have died this year as of May 14th, with two of those deaths occurring in Alabama.
Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said Thursday’s short ceremony will include reading the names and bios of those on the End of Watch List. The Athens Police Honor Guard will place a wreath at the monument.
The officers lost their lives responding to incidents, some from gunfire and some from motor vehicle accidents. One officer was transporting blood to the hospital when he sustained injuries in a crash and died from a blood clot.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
After the public event, APD’s Honor Guard will place new flags at the graves of Athens officers buried in Athens and Limestone County cemeteries.
The public are invited to join Athens Police for the ceremony.
End of Watch list:
● Bedford F. Brackeen
End of Watch: March 24, 1941
Brackeen was sitting in a patrol car with his partner at the old bus stop at Clinton Street when a man approached their car and started an argument about a prior incident. The man pulled out a revolver and opened fire. Brackeen exited the car and exchanged shots. Brackeen was shot three times but still attempted to chase the suspect before collapsing. The suspect was arrested near Nashville and convicted of first-degree murder.
● Billy Daly
End of Watch: Dec. 22, 1964
Daly was on his police motorcycle when a vehicle struck him at U.S. 31 and Forrest Street. He had been with the department for two years.
● Lt. Benton McLemore
End of Watch: March 7, 1969
A suspect shot and killed McLemore after the officer responded to the suspect’s house to check on his welfare. The suspect was known to be mentally ill and shot McLemore with a shotgun after the officer knocked on the door. The suspect killed himself before capture.
● Dewey Wayne Dorsey Sr.
End of Watch: Feb. 11, 1989
Dorsey died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident while transporting blood to Athens-Limestone Hospital. The hospital treated and released Dorsey, but a blood clot developed and killed him.
● Sgt. Larry Wayne Russell and officer Tony Mims
End of Watch: Friday, Jan. 2, 2004
The men responded to a 911 call made by a man with a history of mental illness. The man opened fire as each officer pulled into the driveway, killing Mims first and Russell second. The bullets pierced their vehicles and bulletproof vests. The suspect died in prison.
Limestone County Sheriff’s Department
● Chief Deputy James Henry Eubank
End of Watch: Thursday, June 13, 1918
A suspect shot and killed Eubank while he searched a house for a weapon.
● David E. Temple
End of Watch: Sept. 13, 1979
A man shot and killed Temple after the officer pulled up to him in Limestone County in an attempt to arrest him for a car lot robbery in Decatur. The man leaned out of his car and opened fire on Temple. The man then got out of the car and walked to where Temple lay on the ground and shot him several more times. The suspect fled the scene and led police on a chase through Madison. Police shot and killed him after he wounded another officer.
● Simmie L. Jeffries
End of Watch: Friday, Dec. 21, 1984
Jeffries died from an accident when his patrol car collided with a tractor-trailer in Limestone County.
Source: City of Athens