DATE: Friday, May 15, 2020
SUBJECT: Peace Officers Memorial Day
CONTACT: Colonel Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding

Friday, May 15th is Peace Officers Memorial Day, as originally designated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Flags will be lowered across the country in order to honor the brave men and women of law enforcement who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. This day marks the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers across the country who have taken an oath to protect their communities.

“I want to recognize the service of our confinement officers and sheriff’s deputies, who work tirelessly to protect our citizens by guarding inmates at the jail and patrolling the streets of our county,” said Sheriff David Wedding “I’d like to thank our local Evansville Police Department officers, Indiana State Police troopers and other members of federal, state and local law enforcement for their service to our community. We are grateful to have such a team of dedicated professionals who work so well together.”

Nationwide in 2018 there were nearly 60,000 assaults on law enforcement officers resulting in over 18,000 injuries and 55 deaths. Another 51 law enforcement officers lost their lives in accidents. Since records first began being kept, over 20,000 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty. The name of every officer killed is engraved on a wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Sheriff Wedding stated, “These officers deserve to be remembered and honored for their incredible sacrifice. I am thankful to serve in a county that is overwhelmingly supportive of law enforcement. My deputies routinely report acts of kindness on the part of our citizens that let them know they are appreciated.”

The last sheriff’s deputy to be killed in Vanderburgh County was Special Deputy William H. Engel. On Wednesday, August 13, 1919 Deputy Engel was shot and killed while assisting with transporting prisoners to the Indiana Reformatory. Deputy Engel was escorting a murder suspect when the suspect suddenly drew a pistol and shot him in the back of the head. The suspect had obtained the pistol from his girlfriend at the train station where the prisoners were being loaded. Deputy Engel had served with the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office for only one day. He was survived by his wife and four children.

Five confinement officers were assaulted by inmates in the jail in 2019. Two deputies were assaulted during calls for service and another was assaulted at the Courts Building. Four deputies were injured last year attempting to take suspects into custody and another sixteen confinement officers sustained injuries while attempting to subdue inmates at the jail.