Fallen police officers remembered at Cape Girardeau ceremony

Saturday, May 16, 2009
Law enforcement members from an array of departments wait to place white roses in memoriam of other fallen officers during a ceremony presented by Seniors and Lawmen Together Friday morning, May 15, 2009, at Conservation Campus in Cape Girardeau. (Kit Doyle)

Attending the annual Seniors and Lawmen Together law enforcement memorial ceremony each year since he discovered it has been difficult for Chuck Galemore, now of Tennessee.

Galemore's brother, Gordon, a deputy with the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department, was killed in the line of duty Feb. 28, 1979.

He was among 46 fallen peace officers from Southeast Missouri honored at this year's ceremony, held Friday morning at Cape County Park's Conservation Campus.

Cape Girardeau assistant police chief Roger Fields began the ceremony explaining his ties to Timothy Ruopp, who was from Southeast Missouri but killed in 1984 while a member of the San Diego Police Department.

Ruopp's mother, Imelda, a relative of Fields, died in March of this year, and Friday would have marked her 85th birthday, Fields said.

"For nearly 25 years she grieved for her son, and all the years that I knew Imelda, she never once tried to discourage me from law enforcement," Fields said.

Fields has said his connection with the Ruopp family is partially what sparked his interest initiating the memorial.

"This is a dangerous profession," said Jackson police chief James Humphreys.

More than 38 million crimes are committed in the U.S. each year, and 134 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2008, Humphreys said.

"These are staggering numbers, but to their families, the number they remember is the one, the one father, the one husband," Humphreys said.

The name of each fallen officer was announced over a police scanner, along with the date of their death and the name of their agency, as a member of law enforcement crossed the stage to place a white rose in a glass vase in their honor.

After each officer was named, the scanner bleeped the police code 1042, signaling end of duty.

"These fallen officers were real people," said Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan.

A new law enforcement memorial and commemorative album were originally supposed to be unveiled at this year's ceremony, but Seniors and Lawmen Together has only been able to raise abut half of the $10,000 to $12,000 needed to complete the project.

The delay turned out to be beneficial, Fields said, because it allowed SALT to identify 27 additional officers from around the region whose names will be added to the memorial and whose stories will be told in the commemorative album.

Hearing the stories of so many local officers who lost their lives is always hard, Chuck Galemore said.

"Thank God we've got men and women willing to do it," Galemore said of police work.

"It's a job that needs to be done."



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