WEST CHESTER—Every day, hundreds of police officers in Chester County put on a uniform, with no guarantee they will return home at the end of their shift to their family.
Lawmakers, county commissioners, municipal leaders and scores of officers from police departments all over Chester County honored the 144 federal, state and local law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty — a rise from the 129 officers killed in 2017 -- and to the nine law enforcement officers in Chester County who died doing their jobs.
The Chester County Law Enforcement Memorial Service, held at the headquarters of the Chester County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 11 in West Chester, was an emotional ceremony to honor county law enforcement officials who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Once a year, during National Police Week, the contingent gathers at the headquarters of the Chester County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 11 in downtown West Chester to honor Chester County’s fallen heroes – nine members of law enforcement who continue to inspire undying gratitude for their ultimate sacrifice.
“Every day, these men and women put on their badges without any guarantee of coming back home to take them off,” said Les Neri, state FOP president. “Behind every badge there is a heart. These noble men and women became heroes the moment they chose to dedicate their lives to protect the safety and freedom of others.”
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan told the story of Kennett Square Ptl. Richard Posey, and Kennett Square police officer William W. Davis, both of whom were assassinated as they sat in their patrol car on Nov. 15, 1972.
“They did not get to go home to their families,” Hogan said. “They never again felt the touch of a mother or father, a wife or a child. They gave their lives in the line of duty. We are here tonight to remember them and the other officers who were killed.”
Hogan said that if Davis and Posey could come back and see Chester County today, not only would they see the population doubled, but they would see the citizens are in safe hands.
“Chester County is still the safety place to live in all of Southeast Pennsylvania,” Hogan said. “If Officer Davis and Officer Posey looked around, they would see Chester County citizens still respect and revere our law enforcement.”
Hogan said he can see Officer Davis and Officer Posey looking down and saluting the officers in the ceremony.
“I am convinced there is a heaven just for police officers,” Hogan said.
Chester County Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh, who is retiring this year after decades of service, said police officers in Chester County do their jobs every day without complaint.
“No call is ever routine,” she said. “The world seems to be increasingly more dangerous. There are attacks on schools, malls, synagogues and churches. Stories of cruelty that make you question how human beings can be filled with evil. But evil exists, and it always has and always will. The only way to stand against evil is good – good citizens being vigilant and good laws being enforced.”
According to the FBI, which publishes the data in the Uniform Crime Reports, from 1980–2018, an average of 85 law enforcement officers were killed per year. Those killed in accidents in the line of duty are not included in that number.
The Chester County law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty are:
Benjamin F. Irey, Sheriff's Dept., Jan. 3, 1887; Daniel W. Gulldin, North Coventry police officer, Sept. 10, 1959; Robert W. Gates, East Pikeland police officer, July 23, 1975; Robert J. Lomas, state trooper, Avondale, June 13, 1971; Richard Posey, Kennett Square police officer, Nov. 15, 1972; William W. Davis, Kennett Square police officer, Nov. 15, 1872; David D. Monahan, state trooper, Embreeville, April 17, 1980; John J. Brown, state trooper, Avondale, Feb. 14, 1985; and Douglas H. Pyle, Parkesburg police officer, Sept. 15, 1988.