Law Enforcement Day serves as solemn reminder of ‘ultimate sacrifice’

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, May 7, 2024


KANNAPOLIS — A sunny, slightly breezy day greeted the crowd gathered Friday morning at the intersection of Corban Avenue and Church Street. Hearts were heavy this year for Law Enforcement Day, as the event capped a week that began with tragedy in neighboring Mecklenburg County.

On April 29, an armed suspect opened fire on law enforcement officers who were conducting an investigation in east Charlotte. A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer and three officers from the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force were killed. Several others were injured.

“The sacrifice that is made by so many in the field of law enforcement is great,” Cabarrus County Sheriff Van Shaw said after welcoming the crowd to the 2024 Law Enforcement Day and Peace Officers Memorial. “And the impact on families is never-ending. On Monday, four husbands did not return to their wives. Four fathers did not return to their children. Co-workers and fellow officers mourned after hearing the news that afternoon. And then they got up and they went back to work to do the job again the next day.”

The yearly event is held at the Peace Officers Memorial and honors veteran officers and local law enforcement who lost their lives in the line of duty, paying tribute to their ultimate sacrifice in keeping the public safe.

As Cabarrus Sheriff’s Lieutenant Ross Provost reminded the crowd in his keynote speech, the day serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring principles that guide our democracy — justice, fairness and equality for all.

The journey of remembrance in Cabarrus County began in 1994 when local business owner George Diatzikis recognized the need for a lasting tribute to fallen law enforcement officers. Diatzikis, alongside longtime supporter Ann Cannon and law enforcement leaders Sheriff Robert Canaday, Kannapolis Police Chief Paul Brown and Concord Police Chief Bob Cansler, “embarked on a mission to honor the sacrifices of our fallen heroes,” Provost said.

Diatzikis and Cannon were honored during Friday’s event.

The late Robert J. Eury was also honored with a surprise announcement. Shaw revealed that, in collaboration with the State Department of Transportation and the Town of Midland, a bridge along Highway 24/27 will be named in Eury’s honor.

Deputies revealed a rendering of the sign, and a dedication ceremony is scheduled for this July, Shaw said.

Eury, a Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Deputy, was killed in the line of duty on May 5, 1972

Robert J. Eury Award recipient

Eury’s name is also connected to the prestigious award given each year to law enforcement officers who “demonstrate true commitment to law enforcement and service to the community.”

The 2024 Eury Award recipient — Deputy Chief Daniel Wallace — has served more than two decades with the Kannapolis Police Department.

Wallace began his law enforcement career in November of 2000. Starting out, he took on various roles including serving on the department’s Special Response Team and Honor Guard Unit.

Wallace’s career milestones include his designation as a field training officer in 2009. He earned the Master Police Officer designation in 2010 and was promoted to sergeant that same year.

He achieved the rank of lieutenant in 2014, captain in 2019 and ultimately assumed his current role in 2020.

Wallace embraces a servant-leadership philosophy, always willing to help others and contribute to the success of the community, especially children, Kannapolis Police Chief Terry Spry told the crowd.

“Wow, such a range of emotions,” Wallace said after accepting the award. “Kind of like our career. Some moments you’re angry. Some moments you’re sad. Some moments you’re grateful … it’s hard to stand here and celebrate anything knowing that one of our brothers is being buried as we speak.”

The funeral for CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer was held on Friday morning.

Wallace went on to thank his family, his team at the Kannapolis Police Department and the partnerships with Concord Police Department and Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office.

“I encourage you to go home and pray for these families that have lost loved ones,” he told the crowd. “The best thing that ever happens (in the community) is when somebody comes up … and tells us ‘we’re praying for you guys.’”

In true Law Enforcement Day tradition, the ceremony featured the placing of white roses in honor of fallen officers, a 21-gun salute by the Kannapolis Police Honor Guard and a moving rendition of “Taps” performed by Cory Kluttz of the Kannapolis Police Department.

A bagpipe recessional of “Amazing Grace” by Officer Dallas Hurley of the Concord Police Department concluded the event.

Since 1899, eight law enforcement officers lost their lives serving Cabarrus County residents in the line of duty:

• William J. Kearns: Concord Police Department, Sept. 2, 1899

• Ralph Chandler Kennerly: Concord Police Department, Oct. 20, 1920

• William F. Propst: Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, Nov. 17, 1922

• Martin R. Kiser: Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, March 3, 1931

• Robert J. Eury: Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, May 5, 1972

• Roger D. Carter: Kannapolis Police Department, Dec. 31, 1993

• Jackie L. Daniel: .N.C DMV, July 28, 1994

• Jason N. Shuping: Concord Police Department, Dec. 16, 2020

The 2024 Law Enforcement Day and Peace Officers Memorial event premiered on Cabarrus County Television, Spectrum Cable Channel 22, on Monday at 9 p.m. and will run daily throughout the month at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The public can watch on demand at or