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Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial events to be held Thursday and Friday

by KDOC News — last modified May 02, 2018 12:19 PM
A candlelight vigil for fallen officers will take place at 8 p.m., Thursday, May 3, followed the next day by the memorial ceremony at noon in Topeka. Both events will begin at the Kansas Statehouse and end at the Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial located on the grounds of the statehouse.

The 23rd Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil will start in the rotunda on the first floor of the Kansas Statehouse and end conclude on the with a candle lighting ceremony at the monument.  The 36th annual Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony will begin on the second floor rotunda of the statehouse followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the monument.

This year's ceremony will honor four officers killed in the line of duty. Their names will be added to the memorial. 

  • Special Officer Leonard M. Kennedy, Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Police
    Special Officer Leonard M. Kennedy died in the early morning on July 19, 1922 as he guarded the Otter Creek Bridge near Burlington during a railroad strike. His body was found in the water under the bridge by his relief officer. A coroner’s jury ruled that Special Officer Kennedy was likely knocked off the bridge by a passing train. Special Officer Kennedy was 26 years old and was survived by his father and two brothers.

  • Deputy Sheriff Otho H. Munger, Smith County Sheriff’s Office
    Deputy Sheriff Otho Munger was shot and killed on September 27, 1919 while attempting to arrest two men suspected of robbing banks and businesses in the Smith County area. A druggist by trade, Deputy Munger had been commissioned by the Smith County Sheriff after his store was robbed two weeks prior to his murder. It is believed that Deputy Munger recognized the men as they were driving near Athol, and was killed as he attempted to arrest them. Deputy Munger was 27 years old and was survived by his wife, Iva, son, Bernard, his father, mother, and sister.

  • Deputy Marshal Marcus L. Parker, United States Marshals Service
    Deputy United States Marshal Marcus L. Parker was shot and killed during a gun battle on March 22, 1873, as he and other law enforcement officers attempted to arrest a group of suspected horse thieves near Silverdale in southern Cowley County. One of the suspected thieves was convicted of manslaughter for the death of Marshal Parker and sentenced to three years in prison. Another suspect, who was shot and wounded during the gunfight, was taken from law enforcement officers by a group of armed citizens and hanged several days after Marshal Parker’s murder.

  • Patrolman E. Clay Thompson, Leavenworth Police Department
    Leavenworth Police Department Patrolman E. Clay Thompson was struck by a passing motorist on October 28, 1925 as he and another officer walked their beat on Second Avenue. Patrolman Thompson was transported to the hospital where he died from his injuries. The driver stopped immediately and cooperated with the investigation. Patrolman Thompson was survived by a son, John, three brothers and a sister.

Among the nearly 300 names on the Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial, the names of eight Kansas Department of Corrections officers are included.
Mark Avery Corrections Officer, Lansing Correctional Facility Corrections Officers Mark Avery and Michael Bidatsch were on routine duty supervising the Lansing Correctional Facility recreation hall on May 22, 1993 when they were attacked and beaten with bar bell plates and a stocking cap stuffed with pool balls. Officer Avery died the next day at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Robert D. Hurd Corrections Officer,  Kansas State Penitentiary (now Lansing Correctional Facility) On October 11, 1981, Corrections Officer Hurd died after being stabbed by an inmate who was angered by a disciplinary report that Officer Hurd was going to file. 
Donald R. Martin  Corrections Officer, Lansing Correctional Facility On August 19, 1978, Corrections Officer Martin was killed when he was attacked and beaten by an inmate who was holding a female hostage during an escape attempt.
Paul J. Weber Parole Officer, Kansas City Parole Office On October 19, 1976, Parole Officer Weber was killed after he went to the home of a parolee whose mother had requested assistance in removing her son from her residence. As Officer Weber followed the parolee into the kitchen, the man seized a butcher knife and stabbed Officer Weber. The parolee was convicted of assault on a law enforcement officer and first-degree murder
Henry N. Kenaga Corrections Officer, Kansas State Penitentiary (now Lansing Correctional Facility) On June 20, 1954, Corrections Officer Kenaga was killed after responding to a situation in which inmates, armed with guns and knives, had rushed the visiting room and seized at least six hostages. The inmates were crossing the prison yard when they encountered Officer Kenaga who then attempted to prevent their escape. Officer Kenaga was fatally shot. After a brief exchange of gunfire and a call for additional enforcement officers, the inmates were surrounded and returned to their cells. They were charged with first-degree murder.
Lee White Kansas State Industrial Reformatory (now Hutchinson Correctional Facility) On July 25, 1928, Officer White was supervising five inmates who were working on the new grandstands at the state fairgrounds. Officer White was struck from behind and knocked unconscious by two inmates, Glenn Bellfield and Jake Schell. The two inmates escaped and shot a young girl while commandeering her car. White was treated by a local physician and then joined the search for the escaped inmates. White was a passenger in a vehicle with other officers during the search on July 26, 1928 when the vehicle failed to negotiate a turn and flipped. Officer White, who landed under the vehicle as it came rest, died at the scene. The others suffered minor injuries. After a cross-country manhunt the two escapees were captured following a shootout in Roswell, New Mexico on July 29, 1928.
David W. Burns Corrections Officer, Kansas State Penitentiary (now Lansing Correctional Facility) On December 15, 1923, Officer Burns died after being shot four times by an escaped inmate. Officer Burns had traveled to Texarkana, Texas and was on a train returning with two escapees. While traveling through Alicia, Arkansas, one of the inmates shot Officer Burns four times. Before his death, Officer Burns told the doctor tending to his wounds that he was shot with a revolver believed to have been smuggled to the escapees while at the Texarkana train depot. One escapee was later caught in Arkansas. The second escapee, who had shot Officer Burns, was located following his arrest for a robbery in Meridian, Mississippi six months after Officer Burns’ death.
William H. Owens Corrections Officer, Kansas State Penitentiary (now Lansing Correctional Facility) On October 5, 1905, Officer Owens died from injuries suffered during an escape that occurred the day before his death. Officer Owens had taken an inmate to conduct survey work outside the penitentiary. The inmate had delivered a severe blow to Officer Owen's solar plexus that resulted in internal bleeding and a heart attack. The inmate was quickly captured and charged with felonious assault and murder.



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