Memorial allows community to honor fallen officers

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

SALISBURY — When Rowan County Deputy Robert “Bobby” Clement Jr. read the names of officers on the Rowan County Roll Call of Honor, one name required a short pause after reading. Officer Robert Clement, who served with the Spencer Police Department, was shot in 1997 while serving a warrant and died from his injuries two years later.

Robert Clement was one of 18 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty on the roll call that the younger Clement read during the Rowan County Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony on Tuesday. 

Included on that list was Deputy B.P. Tutterow, who served with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and worked in the jail. B.P. Tutterow and his wife Ruby were murdered in their home by former inmates in the Rowan County Detention Center who knew Tutterow from their time there, said Sheriff Travis Allen.

“Not only did this family lose a law enforcement parent, but also suffered the tragic loss of a mother. The families of those who serve know the risk their loved ones take in this profession. However, many do not realize the danger associated with being a family member of a law enforcement officer,” said Allen.

Allen announced that the department has begun the process of applying to add B.P. Tutterow’s name to the National Law Enforcement Memorial, a monument in Washington D.C. that honors law enforcement officers that died in the line of duty.

After the event, Allen said that the idea for the application was actually the idea of several sheriffs before him, saying that he knew that Sheriff George Wilhelm and Sheriff Kevin Auten had both wanted to submit B.P Tutterow’s name, but because the deputy was killed in his own home while off-duty he technically did not qualify for the memorial. However, Allen said that he was applying for an exception to the line of duty requirement, saying that B.P. Tutterow was targeted specifically for his work with the sheriff’s office.

“There are several that have been accepted to the national registry because they were targeted because they were law enforcement. He was known because he was law enforcement, he was a deputy in the jail. They targeted him knowing him to be so. We feel that he qualifies under all those circumstances,” said Allen.

The application process is a lengthy one, including death certificates, copies of the police reports, a photograph of B.P. Tutterow in uniform and a personal essay from the sheriff. Allen said that once he submits all the components, the department probably will not hear anything back before December.

County Commissioner Mike Caskey, who also serves as an officer with the Mecklenburg-Cabarrus Police Department, provided a proclamation from the board of commissioners and read the roll call of honor for officers from across the state.

“Thank you, you can never say that enough. There’s nothing we can do other than that, at this point, but try to remember those who gave it all. Those who are still serving in law enforcement, I want to thank you. No one leaves this job without some sort of physical or mental scars, thank you for your willingness knowing that and knowing that one day you may have to give it all,” said Caskey before reading the proclamation.

Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander read a proclamation from the city. Allen served as the guest speaker for the event. Deputy Jillian Burleyson and Macy Sollenberger sang “Amazing Grace” and Cory Kluttz from the Kannapolis Police Department played taps.