ATU Hosts Peace Officers Memorial Day Observance

Speakers at Peace Officers Memorial Day Observance 5-15-2024
Photographed (from left-to-right): Chief Stephen Pack, Atkins Police Department; Chief John Pritchard, Pottsville Police Department; Chief Josh Titsworth, Dover Marshall's Office; Chief David Ewing, Russellville Police Department; Mayor Fred Teague, City of Russellville; Chief Joshua McMillian, Arkansas Tech University Department of Public Safety; and Sheriff Shane Jones, Pope County.

Pope County, the City of Russellville, Arkansas Tech University and law enforcement agencies from throughout the area observed Peace Officers Memorial Day with a ceremony at ATU’s Hull Building Student Union on Wednesday, May 15.

Peace Officers Memorial Day was established by a proclamation signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. It is observed on May 15 each year in honor of federal, state and municipal peace officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty.

Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones served as master of ceremonies for the local 2024 observance.

ATU Department of Public Safety Chief Joshua McMillian provided a welcome. McMillian stated that the event was in remembrance of officers who have died, in honor or current officers who put their lives on the line every day and in support of the law enforcement profession.

Chief Josh Titsworth from the Dover Marshall’s Office offered the invocation and benediction. An ROTC color guard from Russellville posted the colors. Krystle Manning and Sarah Payton sang the national anthem. Chief Stephen Pack from the Atkins Police Department led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Craig Heathcoat performed “Taps” in memory of the three Arkansas law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty over the past year: James Michael Lett of the Benton Police Department, Michael Cain Maxheimer of the Shannon Hills Police Department and Justin Smith of the Stone County Sheriff’s Office.

Additional speakers included Pottsville Police Chief John Pritchard, Russellville Police Chief David Ewing, former Russellville Police Department officer Drew Latch and Russellville Mayor Fred Teague.

“I’m grateful to live in a community that supports our law enforcement and first responders,” said Teague. “I’m grateful to look out over the officers who represent all the different departments. On January 1, 2023, I inherited 200 new family members. I take that very seriously. I hope that I’ve demonstrated over the past 17 months that you are family and that I care about each and every one of you.

“I just want to say, personally, thank you,” continued Teague. “Living in this community, I feel safe. I feel blessed that my wife and my daughter can go anywhere in this community and I don’t have to worry about them. The reason for that is because we have men and women who stand in that gap every minute of every day. You are ready to respond at any time, and you do. I’m also grateful for the spouses. Law enforcement is a family affair. We are grateful to you and everything that you do.”