Dozens of law enforcement officers were in town Friday night to honor their colleagues at the Joint Law Enforcement Conference Banquet.
The stories often described the triumph over death, from a 14-week old baby being saved by CPR to elderly residents pulled from a burning nursing home.
Not all of the stories told Friday night at the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police Awards banquet had happy endings, however, and Kansas Bureau of Investigation Director Larry Welch knows it's likely another fallen officer will be honored at next year's banquet.
Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ken Snider was stabbed to death April 18, 1997. Like other officers who were killed in the line of duty, Welch knew Snider.
``These are tough, they're very difficult,'' said Welch, describing the posthumous Chief's Award, which goes to the widows of officers killed in the line of duty.
Susan Snider accepted her husband's plaque during the ceremony at the Lawrence Holidome. Welch briefly spoke of Sgt. Snider's professionalism and sense of humor before the lights were dimmed as dozens of police, highway patrol and sheriff's personnel bowed their heads.
``I know these people. I've spent 37 years in law enforcement, most of it in Kansas,'' Welch said. ``I've been to too many law enforcement funerals.''
Fifty-seven men and women representing agencies from Liberal to Kansas City, Kan. received recognition for acts ranging from talking people out of suicide to facing gunfire in the course of their jobs.
Former Greenwood County Sheriff's Deputy Tim Soule was shot in the neck with a .22-caliber rifle last Aug. 19, when he and three other officers arrived at the house of a man who stabbed a friend and beat his wife.
Soule, who is now a deputy in Butler County, said he doesn't dwell on the shooting and returned to work a month after the incident.
``I just wanted to get back to work. I didn't want to sit at home,'' said Soule.
A husband-and-wife team received awards, a first in the 19-year-history of the banquet, Welch said.
Sgt. Kelly Bailiff of the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Department was recognized for a Kansas City-area program that helps children who are crime victims.
Her husband, Sgt. Raymond Bailiff, racked up impressive stats as a drug enforcement officer with the highway patrol, helping seize almost 7,000 pounds of marijuana, 105 kilos of cocaine and more than 5 pounds of methamphetamine.
The Bailiffs, who met through their jobs, have been married 10 years.
``I think it's actually comforting that we're both in law enforcement, because we are aware about what is frustrating us and we're able to understand what the other is going through,'' Kelly Bailiff said.
The banquet ended a three-day conference of the Joint Kansas Law Enforcement Conference, which involved the Kansas Sheriff's Assn., the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police and the Kansas Peace Officer's Assn.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is email@example.com.