Magazine article American Jails

We Remember and Honor Every Day

Magazine article American Jails

We Remember and Honor Every Day

Article excerpt

His name was David Morrell and he was a deputy sheriffwith the Thurston County Sheriff's Department in Olympia, Washington. On March 1, 1903, Deputy Morrell was tasked with providing food to the inmates at the Thurston County Jail. Suddenly, an inmate set to be transferred to the Walla Walla prison facility, struck Deputy Morrell in the head with a metal pipe. After the blow, the corrections professional attempted to draw his service weapon. However, before he was able to grasp it, the inmate struck him again with the pipe. Then the inmate seized Deputy Morrell's weapon and fatally shot the 15-year law enforcement veteran.

This tragic story reminds us of the incredible service and sacrifice of corrections professionals throughout our Nation's history. An inscription on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial captures why we honor and remember Deputy Morrell and so many other fallen corrections professionals: "It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived." The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund honors those brave men and women who serve in our correctional facilities just as much as we honor those who serve in law enforcement.

Roughly 500,000 corrections professionals go to work every day, never knowing if a lifethreatening moment will come. These brave men and women report for duty fully aware that the next shiftcould be their last. Despite these substantial risks associated with the field, corrections professionals have been proudly serving and sacrificing for the greater good of the public for centuries.

William Bullard, of Missouri, was the first corrections professional in the Nation to die in the line of duty. He was beaten to death during an escape attempt on June 14, 1841, more than 170 years ago.

Anna Hart, of Ohio, was the first female corrections professional in the Nation to die in the line of duty. She worked as a jail matron with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. She was beaten to death during an escape attempt on July 24, 1916.

The youngest and oldest law enforcement officers to be killed in the line of duty were also correctional professionals. The youngest was 17-year-old Charlie Batts, who was struck by lightning while on duty on April 22, 1879, in Bastrop County, Texas. The oldest was 85-year-old Supra Woodroof, who fell to his death on February 29, 1908, while on duty at the Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond.

We remember and honor all of these fallen heroes every day at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. David Morrell, William Bullard, Anna Hart, Charlie Batts, and Supra Woodroof are just a few of the 622 names of fallen corrections professionals whose names are carved on the memorial's walls. This year, 11 corrections professionals' names were dedicated on the memorial during the 26th Annual Candlelight Vigil on May 13, 2014. …

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