Sgt. George Wheeler knocked on a wooden railing Friday, thankful that the Lawrence Police Department hasn't lost an officer in the line of duty since 1931.
Today, uniformed officers will wear little black elastic mourning bands over the centers of their badges to honor Melvin Howe, who died 68 years ago.
Every year, the department honors Howe, as well as Allen Moore, who died May 22, 1901, and Wilson Pringle, who died Oct. 16, 1909. Although their deaths are long since past, Wheeler said it's important to remember the men.
"The mourning badges represent a remembrance of the past for our brother police officers who gave everything they had for their fellow citizens of Lawrence, Kansas," he said.
Shot during a traffic stop on April 24, 1931, Howe died at the hands of Onie Knight, an inmate at an Oklahoma penitentiary who authorities released by mistake.
The force's first officer to die in the line of duty, Moore accidentally dropped his gun and shot himself while at the Union Railroad Depot. As his death approached, Moore gathered his six children around him, telling them to live "upright lives" and mind their grandmother.
A burglar hiding behind a door killed Pringle at a secondhand shop in East Lawrence.
-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.