WATERLOO – Community members thanked local law police officers, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers Wednesday while pausing to remember their fallen comrades.
“You have made that commitment to serve us, the public, and we appreciate it. You put yourselves on the line. A lot times we don’t understand what you’re going through. I know I don’t, but I certainly respect and lift you up anytime I can,” said Joe Hadachek.
Hadachek, recently retired football coach at Union High School, was keynote speaker at this year’s Peace Officer Memorial Service at Veterans Memorial Hall in Waterloo.
“I hope most of the people have the discernment to understand that you guys and gals serving us today, and those that have laid their lives on the line, that paid the ultimate price, are doing it to serve us,” Hadachek said.
Since 1902, 14 local law enforcement officers have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Organization of the annual memorial service rotates every year, and this year it was hosted by the La Porte City Police Department.
During the ceremony, La Porte Mayor Dave Neil gave special thanks for the officers who assisted his city in 2018 in the search for missing teen Jake Wilson.
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“A year ago, we were in a search for a lost 14-year-old in La Porte City. We had a lot of volunteers and a lot of law enforcement that helped in that search. While that search didn’t culminate in what we hoped, we now have some peace in La Porte City and some closure,” Neil said.
According to numbers released by the FBI last week, 106 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents nationwide in 2018.
A total of 55 officers died as a result of felonious acts, an increase from 46 the previous year. Firearms were involved in 51 of the felonious deaths in 2018.
Officers dying in on-duty accidents in 2018 totaled 51, 39 of which involved vehicle crashes, according to the FBI numbers.
Another agency that keeps tabs on fallen officers — the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which operates the memorial in Washington, D.C. — put the number of officers who died in 2018 at 158.
Black Hawk County law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty include:
- Officer John E. Bailey, Waterloo Police Department, 1902.
- Officer Fred P. Widmann, Waterloo Police Department, 1908.
- Officer William Goodenbour, Waterloo Police Department, 1920.
- Officer Vinton J. Margetz, Waterloo Police Department, 1925.
- Deputy Wendell F. Dilworth, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, 1932.
- Officer Everett Dutcher, Cedar Falls Police Department, 1945.
- Officer William R. Melhorn, Waterloo Police Department, 1956.
- Officer Gabriel C. LaFromboise, La Porte City Police Department, 1976.
- Officer Wayne R. Rice, Waterloo Police Department, 1981.
- Officer Michael W. Hoing, Waterloo Police Department, 1981.
- Deputy William F. Mullikin, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, 1981.
- Trooper Charles G. Whitney, Iowa State Patrol, 1985.
- Trooper Lance G. Dietsch, Iowa State Patrol, 1989.
- Officer Adam Liddle, Waterloo Police Department, 2015.