Protector memorial dedicated

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 15, 2001

The peace and quiet of society is the result of laws and law-abiding citizens and the people who enforce laws.

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

The peace and quiet of society is the result of laws and law-abiding citizens and the people who enforce laws.

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Last night, they prowled city streets and county roads.

Some served papers and surveilled trouble spots. Others went into homes to take reports of stolen property, missing children and more.

A few, to be sure, came between angry adults; perhaps a husband and wife in the midst of an argument that started with ugly words and ended with an ugly scar on a victim’s face.

Who knows how many felt the heart pound and palms grow sweaty as they reached for their sidearm, when deadly force became the only remaining option?

Protecting and serving comes with a huge price sometimes. The lucky retire never having drawn a weapon. Others have the rest of their lives to ponder what they did.

They are cussed and discussed for what they did and didn’t do. Second-guessed, too, at every opportunity by a questioning public.

They arrest too many or too few and if you’re the one arrested, always the wrong people.

Still, society calls them for help all the time.

And today or tonight, one of them could pay the ultimate price for protecting and serving: a life will be lost in the line of duty.

Peace officers gave their lives at the rate of one every 2 1/2 days in 2000.

The Protector memorial remembers those peace officers who died.

Located in the shade of the Austin-Mower County Law Enforcement Center in downtown Austin, the memorial was dedicated in ceremonies conducted Sunday afternoon on the first day of National Law Enforcement Memorial Week.

Mower County Sheriff Barry J. Simonson and Austin Police Chief Paul M. Philipp officiated at the ceremonies before a crowd of 40 people.

"All over America this week, observance will be held to honor those officers who have died while protecting society," Sheriff Simonson told the crowd. "Tonight, husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, mothers and wives will be missed by their loved ones, because they were taken from us while protecting us."

According to Simonson, the 140 deaths of peace officers last year came from being shot, drowned, killed in traffic accidents and other means. "Some were beaten to death. One died in an explosion. Some had a heart attack, during a fight or a rescue attempt. All died trying to make their community a better place to live," he said.

The Protector memorial honors three peace officers from Mower County who died in the line of duty and who will "always be remembered," the sheriff said. "It is also a memorial to all past, present and future law enforcement officers from our area."

"It symbolizes the concerns and caring attitudes between different departments and different agencies," he said.

Among those present were several of the donors, whose names and organizations are listed on a plaque that now hangs next to the plaque honoring fallen officers.

Originally dedicated a year ago, when an open house of the LEC was held, this year’s dedication represents the near completion of the project, according to Philipp.

While some expenses for the memorial still need to be paid, most of the memorial costs have been covered.

According to the police chief, National Law Enforcement Memorial Week is an opportunity to "take time to reflect on those men and women who give so much to their communities.

Philipp, a third-generation peace officer in his family, will be a part of the honor guard of peace officers from the entire state who salute Minnesota’s fallen officers at special ceremonies in St. Paul on Wednesday, marking the 14th year in his law enforcement career that Philipp has honored officers killed in the line of duty.

In his remarks Sunday afternoon, the police chief quoted from the Law Enforcement Memorial prayer and reminded all, "May time never erase the sacrifices they made."

For emphasis, Philipp added, "That’s something we should never forget."

Honor guards from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1216 and American Legion Post No. 91 concluded the ceremonies with a 21-gun salute and the playing of "Taps."

Call Lee Bonorden at 434-2232 or e-mail him at