People have told me that I have been doing way too many "Line of Duty Death" posts and I've got to agree as here I am writing another one less than a week after the last one I did. These stories are sad and tragic and as much as I'd like to stop writing these posts, I can't as these men and women need to be recognized and remembered and that is my whole purpose behind writing these posts - not to depress people but to honor the officers who have fallen. Please bear with me; it's a depressing journey but one that needs to be made.
Police Officer Everett William Dennis, age 23, died in a one-vehicle automobile accident early Tuesday morning, June 3rd, in Carthage, Texas when his patrol car went out of control and overturned, ejecting him from the vehicle. At the time of the accident, Officer Dennis was pursuing another car for motor vehicle violations.
Officer Dennis joined the Carthage Police Department on July 9th, 2007, after completing the East Texas Police Academy of Kilgore in June of 2006. Prior to that he had worked as a jailer and dispatcher for the Harrison County Sheriff's Office, served on the Lakeport Lake Patrol, and served as a peace officer in Marion County. In addition to serving on the Carthage Police Department, Officer Dennis also served as a firefighter with Nesbitt and Hallsville volunteer fire departments.
"He was such a nice young man," Brenda Nix, administrative assistant to the city manager said. "He was a very conscientious and dedicated officer even though he was so young. He loved doing his job. It was his life."
June 3rd saw the death of a second officer as a result of a motor vehicle accident when Transport Officer Virgil Lee Behrens of the Marion County Sheriff's Department in Iowa died from the injuries he had received 12 days earlier. He and two detention officers were en route to the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy to attend in service training when the vehicle driving next to them struck a deer throwing a portion of the deer through the windshield of the department vehicle that Officer Behrens was driving. The van went out of control and rolled, ejecting Officer Behrens. All three officers were transported to a hospital in Des Moines where Officer Behrens remained on life support until succumbing to his injuries.
A 43-year veteran of law enforcement, Officer Behrens, age 68, had served with the Marion County Sheriff's Department for 13 years and had previously served 30 years with the Iowa State Patrol. He is survived by his wife, son, daughter and grandchildren.
Deputy Sheriff Shane Tate of the Grundy County Sheriff's Department in Tennessee was shot and killed on Thursday, June 5th, in a small town about 35 miles northwest of Chattanoga as he and a reserve officer from the Monteagle Police Department served a probation violation warrant related to felony drug charges on a suspect.
Deputy Tate had graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy just two weeks ago and one of his first assignments was serving the probation warrant. After fatally shooting Deputy Tate and wounding the other officer, the suspect fled from the scene and was later found near his girlfriend's house where officers negotiated with him for about twenty minutes before he fatally shot himself in the head.
"He was a good police officer," said Grundy County Mayor Ladue Bouldin about Tate. "He was young, energetic, worked hard and wanted to catch the bad guys."
Deputy Tate, age 28, leaves behind his wife and five children as well as a stunned community. "This is definitely a great tragedy and a loss that really makes you wonder about where society's headed when things like this can happen," said Tate's friend, Al Wiley.
Good point, Mr. Wiley. Very good point.