Local leaders recognize fallen police officers

Richmond County agencies have lost 5 since 1892

By Kevin Spradlin

ROCKINGHAM — City council members in Rockingham and Hamlet are expected Tuesday to follow the lead of Richmond County commissioners, who last week honored local law enforcement in advance of National Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15.

policeweekThe day of observation comes from a directive from President John F. Kennedy, who designated the calendar week that May 15 falls in as National Police Week. This year, National Police Week is May 11 through May 17.

The days are meant to honor “those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others,” according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website. It’s a time for ordinary people to reflect just how dangerous the profession of being a police officer can be — and how, when lost, their surviving loved ones continue to sacrifice.

Hamlet Police Chief Amery Griffin said Monday that his department has one sole casualty. On May 5, 1942, then Chief John B. Fallow “was shot and killed as he and another officer attempted to arrest a man who had murdered his own wife, two sisters-in-law and nephew,” according to the online Officer Down Memorial Page.

Hamlet is not the only area law enforcement agency to suffer a fatal loss. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has endured four line of duty deaths.

With 12 years of service on Jan. 5, 1943, “Sheriff Dewitt Ormsby was killed in an automobile accident while on duty,” according to ODMP.

On June 12, 1929, Constable William David Smithwas shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man for possessing illegal whiskey.”

The suspect was captured in Richmond, Va., two weeks later. The suspect was convicted of Smith’s murder and sentenced to death. He was executed in the electric chair on Feb. 13, 1930. Smith was survived by his wife and six children.

On April 29, 1915, jailer Samuel Lou Baucomwas accidentally shot and killed near Hamlet by a posseman as he was assisting with the capture of several prisoners who had escaped from the Cumberland County Jail in Fayetteville.”

Baucom had served with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for four years. He was survived by his wife and four children.

And on Nov. 14, 1892, Deputy Melvin Duncan Livingston “was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a man for disturbing the peace on election day. As he read the warrant he was shot by the suspect, who then fled the scene.

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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