DES MOINES, Iowa -- The lives of six fallen officers were honored on Friday during a special ceremony at the Capitol. Their names will soon be engraved on the Iowa Peace Officer Memorial.
"This is a great opportunity for state, city, local, and federal officials to get together as one unit, really, and speak with one voice in memorial to our fallen," Iowa State Patrol Chief Jeff Ritzman said.
Some of officers honored Friday died in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Peace Officer Memorial Committee recently received information about these officers that allowed them to be included in the ceremony.
"Information gets submitted not necessarily in the same year. Media reports are gathered, in some cases. Family comes forward that we haven't heard from before, and that's why we've seen people even from the 1890s who've been recognized today," Ritzman said.
The nephew of Deputy Mark Burbridge, who was shot and killed while transporting a prisoner on May 1, 2017, said losing his uncle was tragic.
"It's tragic. It's absolutely tragic to see all the officers that have put their lives on the line, you know, for the state of Iowa and all of our nation, and to see what's going on, it's a great thing to see everybody come together and have the support behind those peace officers," Joe Freman said.
Senator Chuck Grassley and Governor Kim Reynolds presented special flags to the families or officers representing each fallen officer.
"Each peace officer comes equipped with a family. We all do. And family is very important for support for us. I know in my almost 40-year law enforcement career my family has been essential, and I'm so thankful for their support. And I know any officer that's here would say the same thing about his or her family," Ritzman said.
Deputy Burbridge's family will never forget him.
"I mean, we had times going fishing. Me and my brother were always one of his ‘favorite little girls’ is what he called us. So just because we were inseparable when we were together and so close in age with his oldest daughter, at least," Freman said.
The following officers were honored on Friday:
Special Officer Timothy O’Brien, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Police
Special Officer Charles E. Crill, Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Police
Deputy William A. Maxwell, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Robert McKinley, Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office
Officer William Elvin Hickman, Indianola Police Department
Deputy Mark Burbridge, Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office