Attorney general, top judge among those at service to honor fallen officers
By Shavonne Potts
KANNAPOLIS ó A sea of North Carolina law enforcement officers filled the seats inside Charity Baptist Church to honor fellow officers who were killed in the line of duty over the last year.
The Wednesday ceremony was also a way to pay respect to the families those officers left behind.
Attorney General Roy Cooper quoting a noted philosopher said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
“Today we are here to honor good men,” Cooper said.
He said everyone is grateful to those law enforcement officers who put on the shield, who put on a vest, holster a service weapon and take a risk.
“This is a day we set aside, a time to honor the fallen and their family,” he said.
Guest speaker Chief U.S. District Court Judge Robert Conrad said he stood in awe of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
He called those who died in service to others heroes.
“We have clearly seen that selflessness in these officers,” Conrad said.
– Steven Boehm, 36, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, died June 14, 2008, directing traffic on U.S. 17 while assisting during a controlled burn at Camp Lejeune.
– David Blanton Jr., 24, North Carolina Highway Patrol, was shot and killed June 17, 2008, during a traffic stop near Canton. Blanton had previously served as a dispatcher for the Cherokee Tribal Police Department.
He was the first enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to become a state trooper, said Col. Walter J. Wilson of the N.C. Highway Patrol.
– Andrew Stocks, 43, N.C. Highway Patrol, died in an accident when his patrol car struck a garbage truck. He was responding to a collision on Sept. 9, 2008.
– Adam Klutz, 25, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, was shot Sept. 19, 2008, while responding to a 911 hang up call. He was shot while getting out of his patrol car. He had been on the job for less than two years.
– Richard Matthews, 28, Wilmington Police Department, died while responding as backup for another officer. His patrol car struck a tree when he swerved to avoid debris in the roadway. He had previously worked as a New York City Police officer for three years.
“It’s an honor to be a part of,” said Kannapolis Police Chief Woody Chavis.
This is the first time the ceremony has been held in Kannapolis, he said after the ceremony.
Chavis said it was not often this many officers were gathered at one place to honor their comrades.
He gave kudos to the church for providing the facility and Cabarrus County Sheriff Brad Riley for helping coordinate the program.
The two most recent deaths, Rickie Allen Pearson Jr. and Brandon Coker, will be honored at next year’s ceremony.
Pearson died April 8 and Coker died April 25.
This is a time to honor law enforcement who have served and who continue to serve.
Next week is National Police Week.