(LONDON, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, members of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission and law enforcement officers from throughout the state gathered today to pay special tribute to the five Ohio peace officers lost in the line of duty last year.
“These names are carved in stone so that they resist the passage of time – the wear and tear of cold and ice, and especially, the dimming of memory.”
Attorney General says our freedom and our security depend on the rule of law. And because law enforcement officers defend the rule of law, “They are remembered in stone because they – and those who continue their work – are the foundation of our society, and therefore, they are the foundation of all the good things the rest of us enjoy.”
The 34th Ohio Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony, held at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in London, also served as an occasion to honor and thank all 814 Ohio peace officers who have sacrificed their lives since 1823.
The five who died last year are:
Officer Brandon M. Stalker, Toledo Police Department
On Jan, 18, 2021, Officer Stalker was fatally shot at a SWAT scene when the suspect opened fire while trying to flee the house where he had barricaded himself. Officer Stalker, 24, had graduated from the police academy less than two years earlier. The two things he loved best, his family and his job, were blossoming side by side. He talked often about his two young children, his fiancée and their upcoming wedding. And his passion for his calling was just as obvious.
Deputy Donald R. Gilreath III, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
On Feb. 12, 2021, Deputy Gilreath, 36, died of complications from the COVID-19 virus, which he contracted on the job. As much of society quarantined during the pandemic, the 15-year veteran continued his duties at the Hamilton County Justice Center, where he oversaw the control room and greeted everyone entering the building with a kind word and a laugh. He left behind his wife and three children.
Natural Resources Officer Jason S. Lagore, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
On Feb. 23, 2021, Officer Lagore, 36, suffered a heart attack at Rocky Fork State Park as he and his K-9 partner were searching for the body of a teenage girl trapped under the ice. Officer Lagore was married and the father of two young boys. He was the driving force behind ODNR’s K-9 program during his 15-year career. He created the department’s first K-9 academy, led the Division of Parks and Watercraft K-9 training program, and was often asked by other agencies to lend his expertise to their search, rescue and recovery operations.
Officer Scott R. Dawley, Nelsonville Police Department
On Aug. 3, 2021, Officer Dawley, 43, died in a three-vehicle crash while responding to a report of gunfire. He was well-known around his hometown for his selflessness, humor and sense of justice. The seven-year veteran of the department and second-most-senior officer loved his job and was looking forward to a possible promotion to sergeant. Newly remarried, he left behind his wife and seven children.
Officer Shane H. Bartek, Cleveland Division of Police
On New Year’s Eve 2021, while off duty, Officer Bartek was shot and killed when a woman ambushed him from behind to steal his car. The 25-year-old had been on the force for two years and was constantly extending himself during his short career. He spent time reading at a child care center. He loved the Shop with a Cop program at Christmastime. And his partners fondly remember how he helped – and later stayed in touch with – a suicidal Navy veteran who had become addicted to drugs.
Additional information about the fallen officers is available here.
Also honored today was Deputy Rex E. Faux of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Faux died in the line of duty in 1933 but was never recognized. His name has also been added to the memorial wall.
Ceremonial units from Ohio law enforcement agencies participated in today’s event.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office can provide news organizations with video and photographs from today’s ceremony. To receive a download link, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.