4 names from Kansas history added to Law Enforcement Memorial in Topeka

photo by: Peter Hancock

In this file photo from May 4, 2018, a pipe and drum corps marches past the Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial during the 36th annual memorial service honoring peace officers who have been killed in the line of duty. The memorial, which is now nearly full, will soon be expanded with an outer ring of markers to accommodate additional names in future years.

? No Kansas law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2017, but the names of four officers from the state’s history were added Friday to a memorial outside the Statehouse that honors fallen officers.

The names were dedicated during the 36th annual memorial service at the monument, an event that draws law enforcement officers from throughout the state, along with the friends and families of those whose names are etched on the monument.

“Many of you have lost friends. Many of you have lost loved ones. And all of us, every Kansan, all of us are poorer for that,” Gov. Jeff Colyer said in remarks at the ceremony.

“We’re all thankful that no Kansas officers died in the line of duty since the last time we gathered for this ceremony,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “But we’re still saddened by the 135 line-of-duty deaths nationwide in 2017, and the 49 so far this year.”

Schmidt said the four names added this year bring the total number of officers listed on the memorial to 281.

The names were uncovered by people sifting through historical records in various Kansas communities. According to information provided at the ceremony, they are:

• Special Officer Leonard M. Kennedy, of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Police, who died on July 19, 1922, while guarding the Otter Creek Bridge near Burlington during a railroad strike. Evidence indicated he was likely knocked off the bridge by a passing train. He was 26.

• Smith County Deputy Sheriff Otho H. Munger, who was shot and killed Sept. 27, 1919, by two men suspected of robbing banks and businesses in the area. He was 27.

• Deputy Marshal Marcus L. Parker, of the U.S. Marshals Service, who was shot and killed during a gun battle while trying to arrest a group of suspected horse thieves on March 22, 1873, in southern Cowley County. His age was not listed.

• And Patrolman E. Clay Thompson, of the Leavenworth Police Department, who was struck by a passing motorist Oct. 28, 1925, as he and another patrolman were walking their beat. His age also was not listed.