In 1962, President 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.
In years past, the Russellville Police Department, along with all area law enforcement and the public, have gathered together during the week of May 15th to remember fallen officers from across our state and nation. Due to the current pandemic, we will not be meeting as a group to remember those fallen officers, but it would be a disservice to not remember those in some fashion.
Since the last time we gathered, the State of Arkansas lost three officers in the line of duty; Sgt. Michael Stephens with Stone County Sheriff Office, Officer Stephen Carr with the Fayetteville Police Department, and Officer Brent Scrimshire with the Hot Springs Police Department. We also want to remember the local officers that paid the ultimate sacrifice in serving our community; Lt. Kevin Mainhart of the Yell County Sheriff’s Office (2017), Deputy Sonny Smith of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (2015), and Coordinator Larry Johnson with the 5th Judicial Drug Task Force (2013). The current pandemic has not only created obstacles in allowing us to gather, but it has cost the lives of many law enforcement officers from around the nation. According to the Officer Down Memorial page, 24 line-of-duty deaths have been contributed to the COVID-19 virus.
As we take this moment to reflect on the fallen officers, we have to also thank the community who has shown so much support to our agency. You have made a difficult profession in such difficult times more bearable.
Please join us in remembering these officers, their families, and their fellow officers as they continue to cope with such devastating losses and remember those who continue to serve.