PAOLA – County law enforcement officers gathered with members of the public to honor and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their service, during a memorial service on Friday May 20.
The service was held in front of the First Responders Memorial in front of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in Paola.
Osawatomie Police Department officials Deputy Chief William Bradshaw and Constable Kyle Hurt laid wreaths at the First Responders Memorial honoring two fallen Osawatomie officers who were killed in the drill from office in 1895 and 1947. Bradshaw and Hurt were aided by members of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard.
Osawatomie police officer James H. Helms was shot and killed while investigating the sounds of an explosion downtown around 3 a.m. on January 20, 1895.
Four years later, in 1899, a Minnesota convict confessed to killing Helms, along with two peace officers and a civilian woman in Illinois and shooting a police officer in Nebraska, according to historical accounts. Osawatomie Police Chief Michael F. Churchill was shot. and killed on February 3, 1947, while trying to arrest a man who had beaten his wife in a domestic assault the previous night.
As Churchill approached a shed behind the house, the man opened fire with a shotgun and killed the chief.
The man was apprehended by a mob, convicted and hanged on May 6, 1950, according to historical accounts.
Sheriff Frank Kelly led Friday’s memorial service, which coincided with National Police Week (also known as National Law Enforcement Week) from Sunday May 15 to Saturday May 21.