by Kim Lane
A couple of weeks ago, the Little Rock Police Department started searching for the grave sites of all of the 23 LRPD officers who were killed in the line of duty. Homicide Detective Mark Knowles spoke at one of the grave sites on Monday, the first day of Police Memorial Week.
The gravesite, at Oakland-Fraternal Cemeteries, was that of Officer William Copeland, who was the first known LRPD officer to be killed in the line of duty. He was killed in 1885.
"Officer Copeland is a historic part of what our men and women go through every day when they put on that uniform. There could be a day when they don’t come home and we want to remember them during this time," said Knowles.
Knowles is part of a big push to identify all of the officers killed in the line of duty this year. So far 15 gravesites have been found. Upon finding a gravesite, the LRPD registers the site’s GPS, photographs it and repairs it. In honor of police memorial week, the LRPD also places a personalized plaque and two grave markers — an American flag, and a thin blue line flag. The LRPD will mark the graves every year in honor of Police Memorial Week. It also plans to continue the search for the remaining grave sites.
See a list of the 23 LRPD officers killed in the line of duty on the jump.
"When they are here in the cemetery, that is not the end for our people," said Knowles. "Everyone knows there's a potential that that can happen to them. This profession that we chose — there’s a certain amount of camaraderie that comes with it."
Officer Knowles has been working for the LRPD for 20 years and has been to several friends’ funerals. "There are good times and bad times," said Knowles, "no matter what, we are gonna take care of [the deceased officers] and their families."
There will be a memorial service to commemorate the 23 deceased officers on Friday, May 18 at 10 a.m. at the LRPD headquarters, located at 700 W. Markham Street.
See a list of all the LRPD officers killed in the line of duty on the jump.
OFF. WILLIAM L. COPELAND DECEMBER 30, 1885
OFF. W. T. PHILLIPS AUGUST 1, 1908
SGT. WILLIAM I. CAMPBELL APRIL 18, 1911
OFF. J. O. MILLER APRIL 23, 1911
DET. SGT. SAM MORGAN OCTOBER 30, 1915
OFF. JOE ERBER JUNE 6, 1920
OFF. THOMAS D. HUDSON AUGUST 19, 1920
DET. SGT. JOHN W. CABINESS AUGUST 12, 1922
DET. SGT. GEORGE MOORE JULY 24, 1923
DET. SGT. LUTHER C. HAY JULY 26, 1923
OFF. CHARLES FAULKNER JULY 13, 1924
OFF. HARVEY L. BIGGS JULY 27, 1924
OFF. FRANK SWILLING, SR. DECEMBER 11, 1926
OFF. ROBERT A. JOHNSON MARCH 23, 1930
SGT. SAMUEL NEAL McDERMONT SEPTEMBER 3, 1930
DET. LT. OSCAR F. “JACK” DEUBLER JANUARY 1, 1947
OFF. LlOYD W. WORTHY SEPTEMBER 2, 1967
OFF. ALVIN JOSEPH FREE SEPTEMBER 27, 1970
OFF. NOEL DON McGUIRE MAY 14, 1980
OFF. DAVID E. BARNETT FEBRUARY 13, 1991
OFF. HENRY CALLANEN MAY 15, 1993
OFF. JOSEPH T. FISHER FEBRUARY 7, 1995
OFFICER JACK COOPER FEBRUARY 2, 2002