Clark County honors fallen officers at annual ceremony

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

 

A bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” rang out in front of the Clark County Public Service Center. Police officers with K9s lined the courtyard while a group of Clark County’s top law enforcement officials — dressed in their best — watched the honor guard raise an American flag to half-mast.

Thursday was a day to remember law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

At 11 a.m., law enforcement personnel, friends, family, county staff and others gathered outside the county building for the annual Clark County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony.

A procession of motorcycle officers, a multi-agency color guard, the Portland Highland Guard Bagpipe Band and K9 officers started the ceremony. Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson sang the National Anthem.

Guest speaker State Rep. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, told the group about the law enforcement memorial on the Capitol campus in Olympia. She said reading the names of the men and women who died in the line of duty is the most powerful part of the memorial.

“These names aren’t just etched into the granite of the memorial, they’re etched into the hearts and minds of the people who stop to look at the memorial,” she said. ““It’s a powerful thing. It’s a reminder of the sacrifice, the danger and the public service.”

A quote on that memorial defined the day for her, she said.

“Their duty was to serve, ours is to remember,” it reads.

Cmdr. Allen Cook with the Washougal Police Department read the name of four Washington officers who lost their lives in 2011 and the beginning of 2012. They are:

• Correctional Officer Jaymee Lee Biendl, Department of Corrections, Jan. 29, 2011

• Deputy Sheriff Shandon Wright, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, March 3, 2011

• Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, National Park Service, Jan. 2, 2012

• Trooper Tony Radulescu, Washington State Patrol, Feb. 23, 2012

Also read were the names of Clark County’s fallen officers:

• Deputy Wilfred E. Rorison, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, 1922

• Sheriff Lester Wood, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, 1927

• Special Agent Ballard W. Turner, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, 1932

• Special Agent Ernest B. Vlasich, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, 1932

• Trooper Don R. Campbell Jr., Washington State Patrol, 1951

• Deputy Martin S. Sowders, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, 1976

• Trooper James S. Gain, Washington State Patrol, 1987

• Sgt. Brad Crawford, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, 2004

Four fallen K9s were also honored.

Paul Suarez: paul.suarez@columbian.com