In commemoration of National Police Week, EMS Week, National Peace Official Memorial Day and the six local officers who have died in the line of duty, the public is invited to attend the Jasper County Law Enforcement Memorial service 5:30 p.m. May 18 on the north side of the Jasper County Courthouse.
Law enforcement agencies from all across the county will gather on the lawn of the courthouse to honor the officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. In total, more than 200 federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers in the United States died in the line of duty in 2022.
Memorial wreaths will be displayed during the ceremony to honor the Jasper County officers who have died:
• Reserve Captain Howard Holdefer of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, whose end of watch was Oct. 30, 1973.
• Officer Donald “Rusty” Hewitt of the Prairie City Police Department, whose end of watch was Dec. 3, 1977.
• Officer Bobby Barrickman of the Newton Police Department, whose end of watch was Sept. 30, 1979.
• Officer Daniel McPherren of the Newton Police Department, whose end of watch was Sept. 13, 1985.
• Lt. Pat Richardson of the Newton Police Department, whose end of watch was Sept. 1, 2013.
• Chief Michael German of the Prairie City Police Department, whose end of watch was Jan. 13, 2022.
More than a year has passed since German’s death. The police chief died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page — which records every line of duty death in the United States — there were 82 officer deaths related to COVID-19 in 2022.
ODMP stated that due to the nature of their job, law enforcement officers were required to work and interact with their communities during the pandemic. This would lead to the deaths of hundreds of officers who were exposed to COVID-19. ODMP claims more than 900 officers have died from COVID-19 since 2020.