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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: May 15, 2023

Police Department remembers fallen officers

Officer saluting a fallen officer after placing a rose.

The Danville Police Department held a Peace Officers Memorial Service Monday, May 15, in memory of six officers who have died in the line of duty – five from the police department and one from the Danville Sheriff’s Office.

The service, held in the Danville Police Department at 1 Community Way, was the first of its kind for the police department.

“Today, we not only remember the fallen, but we also honor and pay respect to the fact that these brave men and women did not hesitate to respond at a moment’s notice, to serve and protect, and to above all serve this community to the fullest.,” Chief Scott Booth said.

The Danville Police Department’s first line of duty loss occurred on Friday, Sept. 7, 1883. On that date, three-year department veteran Officer J.C. Parks died as a result of gunfire. Officer Parks tried to secure a man’s firearm which he had used to threaten his wife; the man fired the weapon which struck Parks. A struggle between the two ensued until others finally subdued the suspect.

On Saturday, March 7, 1896, a prisoner shot and killed Deputy Sergeant William A. Cook, while attempting to escape from the city jail. The pistol used was smuggled into the jail. Cook was killed four days before his 55th birthday.

On Friday, Oct. 12, 1917, Officer William H. McCray, a 26-year veteran, was shot and killed while entering the home of a barricaded person. The male suspect wounded other officers before ultimately being killed by law enforcement officials.

On Tuesday, June 14, 1921, Officer John P. Jones was just six months into his career when he was shot and killed by a shotgun rigged to the door of a local store. While on night shift, Jones noticed the door was partially opened, and went to investigate. When he opened the door, he was struck by the shotgun blast that the store owner had set for the purpose of catching burglars.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005 Officer Courtney Lamont Dickerson was responding to an alarm call when he was involved in a motor vehicle crash that took his life. He was ejected from the car and died later that night. He was one year into his career.

On Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, Officer Bonnie Jones, a 17-year veteran, died after contracting COVID-19 while working. Officer Jones was one of many peace officers to succumb to COVID-19 in the United States as a result of their job, to which required face-to-face interaction with the community while most were still in quarantine.

During the service, a rose was placed in memory of each person lost in the line of duty, and a bell rang in their honor. The Danville Police Department Honor Guard also played Taps. Police Chaplain Jeff Lynch offered a benediction.

In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

Roses placed on images of fallen officers.

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