Montgomery Co. law enforcement comes together to remember fallen officers

At a vigil on Tuesday night, past and present public safety employees from Montgomery County came together to honor the county’s fallen officers.(WTOP/Mike Murillo)

At a vigil on Tuesday night, past and present public safety employees from Montgomery County, Maryland, came together, holding blue candle lights in remembrance of the county’s fallen officers.

The event honors close to two dozen officers and one K9 officer from the Montgomery County Police Department, as well as the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maryland-National Capital Park Police — Montgomery County Division. Every name was read at the vigil.

“These are the things that remind us that we must always, always remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said.

The 24-hour long vigil at the county’s Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg comes ahead of Police Week, and just over a week before the nationally recognized Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Near the memorial, newspaper clippings tell the stories of how some of the officers being honored lost their lives while protecting the community. For others, their story is told through conversations with those who take part in the ceremony.

“You get to hear about the ultimate sacrifice that were paid by these officers responding to a fight, being shot in the line of duty, being stabbed in the line of duty, having a heart attack while they’re fighting somebody,” said Capt. David Reed, Honor Guard Commander for the Montgomery County Police.

Reed said this event is comforting for family members of the fallen, because they know their loved ones have not been forgotten.

Retired Montgomery County Police Department Sgt. O.J. Lennon said during his tenure with the department, he lost nine fellow officers.

“You want to keep their memory alive and show every respect you can,” Lennon said.

Lt. Dave Cohen said police officers go to work knowing one day they may have to make the ultimate sacrifice one day.

“For those that have really done that for our community, the least we can do is honor them, remember them, be here every year for them,” Cohen said.

The vigil and memorial service is important for young officers as well, according to Reed.

“It helps them become invested in our department, how much we care, you’re not just a number you’re a shift mate, a brother, a sister. You’re family members,” Reed said.

During the vigil, personnel will take turns standing watch over a memorial for the fallen officers.

The vigil will conclude with a memorial service for the county’s fallen officers on Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m.

Members of the community are also invited to come pay their respects at the memorial at 100 Edison Park Drive in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The fallen to be honored in the county include:

Montgomery County Police Department:

  • Police Officer III Kyle D. Olinger- April 18, 2019
  • Police Officer III Noah A. Leotta — Dec. 10, 2015
  • Police Officer III William D. Talbert — Jan. 27, 2012
  • Sergeant Hector I. Ayala — April 4, 2010
  • Police Officer III Luke T. Hoffman — April 25, 2007
  • Captain Joseph A. Mattingly, Jr. — Sept. 13, 2003
  • Police Officer III James E. Walch — Jan. 25, 1994
  • Police Officer III Mark M. Filer — Aug. 24, 1993
  • K9 Blitz — March 8, 1985
  • Police Officer III Philip C. Metz — March 27, 1981
  • Corporal John M. Frontczak — March 29, 1976
  • Captain James E. Daly, Jr. — March 28, 1976
  • Private William P. Conboy, Jr. — Dec. 29, 1973
  • Lieutenant Donald A. Robertson — March 9, 1972
  • Lieutenant William H. Jessie — Dec. 30, 1964
  • Private Robert W. McAllister — Nov. 23, 1952
  • Private David G. Bisset — Oct. 1, 1952
  • Patrolman James E. Shoemaker — Feb. 4, 1938
  • Patrolman Webb S. Hersperger — June 18, 1933
  • Patrolman Joseph A. Case — Dec. 17, 1928

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Captain James T. Hall — Oct. 26, 1971

Maryland-National Capital Park Police — Montgomery County Division:

  • Officer Kristin M. Pataki — May 4, 2002

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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