Honoring the Fallen: Clark County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony

Multiple Law Enforcement agencies gather in Vancouver to recognize their fellow officers who died in the line of duty

VANCOUVER — Law enforcement officials from all over the region, along with family, friends, community leaders, and media, gathered at downtown Vancouver’s Public Service Center Thursday to honor those that paid the ultimate price.

Members of the Portland Highland Guard and Multi-Agency Color Guard bring forth the American flag at the 2019 Clark County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony in Vancouver. Photo by Mike Schultz
Members of the Portland Highland Guard and Multi-Agency Color Guard bring forth the American flag at the 2019 Clark County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony in Vancouver. Photo by Mike Schultz

The 2019 Clark County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony honored the eight officers and five K-9 dogs that have been killed in Clark County since 1922. Also recognized and honored were the two officers killed in Washington state last year.

After solem opening remarks by Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Commander  Phil Sample, the Portland Highland Guard and the Multi-Agency Color Guard posted the colors. The national anthem was performed by Vancouver Police Department’s Officer Rey Reynolds.

Guest speaker, Judge Daniel Stahnke of the Clark County Superior Court, is shown here at Thursday’s Clark County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony. Photo by Mike Schultz
Guest speaker, Judge Daniel Stahnke of the Clark County Superior Court, is shown here at Thursday’s Clark County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony. Photo by Mike Schultz

“The event today is very symbolic of honoring those that have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Sample said. “Sometimes people don’t remember or they forget that, we do work these jobs in official capacities, but we’re regular people also; husbands, wives, family members. This is our way, today, to give back and thank those that keep the community safe.”     

Pastor Chris Kainu of Vancouver Church delivered the invocation, followed by the proclamation by Clark County Councilor Temple Lentz. The guest speaker, the Honorable Daniel Stahnke from the Clark County Superior Court, spoke on the importance of honoring each and every officer and K-9 lost in line of service.

“The society we have built will always be threatened by people who scheme to exploit the innocent, and to visit violence on the weak,” Stahnke said. “We need our police officers because life without them would be unbearable.”

After the call of honor for each group of fallen officers and K-9’s, “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes echoed through downtown as the main American flag was raised to half-staff.

Retired Clark County Sheriff’s Office Chief Mike Evans closed the ceremony with “Taps,” before the benediction by Pastor Kainu.

The Patriot Guard Riders stood at attention throughout the ceremony holding flags with many dressed in veterans and law enforcement attire. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Patriot Guard Riders stood at attention throughout the ceremony holding flags with many dressed in veterans and law enforcement attire. Photo by Mike Schultz

Nationwide, there were 163 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2018.

“Today is a very special day, and we hold it deep to our heart,” Sample said. “So on behalf of Sheriff Chuck Atkins, thank you very much for coming today and being part of our ceremony.”

Below is the complete list of officers and K9 honored:

Clark County, Fallen Officers:

Deputy Sheriff Wilfred E. Rorison, CCSO — 1922

Sheriff Lester M. Wood, CCSO — 1927

Special Agent Ballard W. Turner, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms — 1932

Special Agent Ernest B. Vlasich, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms — 1932  

Trooper Don R. Campbell  Jr., Washington State Patrol — 1951

Deputy Sheriff Martin S. Sowders, CCSO — 1976  

Trooper James S. Gain, Washington State Patrol — 1987

Sergeant Brad Crawford, CCSO — 2004

Clark County, Fallen K-9:

K9 Brie, CCSO, Handler, Deputy Sheriff Dennis Meats – 1987

K9 Lucky, CCSO, Handler, Deputy Sheriff Tom Mitchum – 1990

K9 Dakota, Vancouver Police Department, Handler, Officer Roger Evans – 2007

K9 Kane, CCSO Handler, Deputy Sheriff Rick Osborne – 2011

K9 Ike, Vancouver Police Department, Handler, Detective Jack Anderson – 2015

Washington State Fallen Officers, 2018:

Deputy Sheriff Daniel Alexander McCartney, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department

Police Officer Diego Moreno, Kent Police Department    

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About The Author

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a recent graduate of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College, where he studied media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and in Argentina. His passions range from loving people, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife in Vancouver, WA.

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