By GARY POPP
“We can’t forget our past,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin after a service Wednesday morning at the Sellersburg ISP post to memorialize the 46 troopers who were killed in the line of duty since the agency was founded in 1933.
Similar memorial services are being held at every ISP post across the state.
During the service about 70 law enforcement officers stood in formation as each name of the departed troopers was read aloud, as well as their time with the agency and how they were killed.
“This is not about the men and women wearing the uniform today,” Goodin said. “This is about the men and women who lost their lives and about their families who are still here having to grieve.”
He said the services take place each year to serve as a memorial of the fallen troopers and as a reminder to the families that they are still part of the law enforcement family.
“We are here to show those families, even though it has been that many years, that we are still here,” Goodin said. “We never forgot their family member who gave their life, and we support them. We are just like a big family.”
Goodin said a continual memorial service is appropriate for the law enforcement community because the fellow officers form deep bonds during their times of service.
“Most of the troopers here at the post and most police officers are very close friends, and the reason why is because they spend hours every day together,” Goodin said. “They become more like family than friends. So, it doesn’t really matter if they are lost in the line of duty or not the line of duty, it still hurts the same and you still feel the same pain.”
After the names of the fallen troopers were read, two Silver Creek High School students, Nick Durham and Patrick Sellers, played “Taps” in the open area in front of the ISP post where the ceremony was held.
Floyd County Sheriff Darrell Mills, who attended the ceremony with other FCSD officers, said it’s important to recognize fallen officers, no matter which badge they wore.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is a blue uniform, or a state police uniform, or a marshal or a town or a county, we are out there to serve the public and to create an atmosphere that is safe for everyone to live,” Mills said.
He said the annual memorial service at the ISP post impresses upon officers and civilians how easily the life of an active officer of the law can be taken away.
“It’s a reminder that we live a delicate day-to-day life, and it can be taken at any given time, whether it be through some criminal element or a traffic accident,” Mills said. “With the nature of the duties that we do, it’s unfortunate that sometimes you lose your life to this profession, so we like to honor and respect those that put their lives forward and to recognize that once a year is a great thing to do and keeps the memory of those people with us.”
At the end of the ceremony, time was also taken to recognize former ISP Trooper David Scott, who died of a heart attack in 2012 while off duty at the age of 39.
Scott played an essential role on the Combined Accident Reconstruction Team, or CART, which includes officers from ISP, New Albany City Police and Floyd County Sheriff’s Department.
In remembrance of Scott, Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson, Mills and others saw that his name was added to the side of a new CART van, which was revealed during the ceremony.
“Dave [Scott] was one of the founding members, and any time we are trying to get something off the ground it takes that extra energy and foresight, and he was one of those guys,” Henderson said. “He was always calm, cool and collected, a professional. He was very dedicated to seeing this come to fruition for accident reconstruction in our area to be ratcheted up a notch, and he was part of that.”
Henderson said he got to know Scott well through concerted efforts to establish CART.
“I knew Dave for several years and held him in high esteem as a trooper, as a father, as a husband,” Henderson said. “He was one of those people you come across not all that often.”
Mills said Scott was instrumental to founding the CART and was dedicated in seeing the success of the program.
“Dave Scott was pretty much the glue of that team,” Mills said. “He dedicated his whole service to this CART team because it was such a good concept that had come about.”
Scott’s wife, Beth Scott, was at the ceremony and said she still feels like part of the ISP family.
“My husband has been gone for nine months almost, and I still feel very welcome and checked upon,” she said. “We are definitely a family.”
Beth Scott said she feels that Dave Scott’s approach to work, family and friends made him someone other troopers looked up to.
“It means a lot that they are recognizing all of his hard work and dedication to not only the state police, but also the accident reconstruction team,” Beth Scott said.