On Saturday, 15 May 2004, the Elgin Police Department, along with officers from the South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP), the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office (KCSO), the Camden Police Department (CPD), the Bethune Police Department, and the Richland County Sheriff's Office, held a memorial service in honor of those officers of Kershaw County who have been killed in the line of duty.
Family members of these brave officers heard presentations by Elgin Chief Harold Brown, Kershaw County Sheriff Steve McCaskill, SCHP Sgt Donald Branham, Camden Chief Joseph Floyd, and Mayor Paul Grooms, as well as individual tributes by members of the officers' families and friends.
The seven honored heroes are: Captain Pat Orr (KCSO), Deputy Ted Turner (KCSO), Deputy Ernest C "Chris" Potter, III (KCSO), Constable Jesse Bateman (KSCO), Trooper H Merl Godbold (SCHP), Officer Robert A Latta (CPD), and Officer Eddie Catoe (CPD).
The service was opened with prayer from Elgin Municipal Judge Bill Hyman, followed by presentation of the colors by the Camden Police Department Honor Guard. Ms Amanda Hines sang our National Anthem and led the children of Blaney Elementary School in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Camden Police Chief Floyd presented a moving rendition of the poem "A Part of America Died". Following the remarks by family and friends, services were closed with the playing of "Taps" by Mr Deral Brown of Stover Middle School.
Police Memorial Day is observed nation-wide on May 15th of each year. The week in which May 15th falls is declared "National Police Week" and is accompanied by activities, memorials, and tributes throughout the country. Police Officers' Memorial Day is the time when the names of those officers who died in the line of duty the previous year are added to The Police Officers' Memorial Wall" in Washington, D.C.
Kershaw County Sheriff Steve McCaskil
Elgin Police Chief Brown
Ryan Catoe lights a candle in his father's honor
Camden Police Chief Floyd
Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Potter addresses the memory of his father.
Trooper Godbold's family light a candle in his honor
The family members of Deputy Turner stand as he is recognized for his service. From left, Terry Turner, widow Carrie Turner, and daughter Cassandra Turner Drakeford.
Taps, played by Mr Deral Brown
A memorial table was set up with photos and other memories of each fallen officer. One by one, candles were lit in their memory.
Cassandra Turner Drakeford shares memories of her father, Deputy Turner
Benny Debruhl, son of the late Sheriff Hector Debruhl, speaks on behalf of the Pat Orr Family.
SCHP Sgt Donald Branham remembers his friend, Trooper Godbold.
Erin Godbold Adams speaks about her father, while her mother, Gayle Godbold Pitts, looks on.
Mayor Paul Grooms wlecomes everyone
The entrance to the Police Officer's Memorial, Washington DC. The inscrription reads "In Valor, there is Hope"