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Remembering All 36 Fallen Montgomery County Officers
DAYTON -- Every 54 hours an officer is killed in line of duty in the United States and on Friday about 400 people gathered downtown to remember those killed right here in the Montgomery County.
Law enforcement officers, elected officials, public dignitaries, family survivors gathered to honor the 36 Montgomery County law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty over the past 130 years.
Officers - 150 strong - marched in to the same drumbeat, and with their families in attendance, waving their support, they say a prayer: "Heavenly father, you tell us in your word no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend," and they give thanks to the 36 local men and woman who gave their lives serving our community.
Men such as Dayton Police Officer Jason Grossnickle who was shot and killed outside police headquarters May 23, 1996.
"The assailant came in from behind us, said a few words and opened fire. Jason had fallen on the ground and was trying to get to his gun and the assailant came up to him, put the gun to the back of his head and pulled the trigger. The whole incident lasted about 45 seconds, there were 70 rounds fired," said K-9 Officer Robert Cleaver who was with him that day. "I took one shot and it hit me right here on the right side. Thankfully it just broke off some of my teeth deflected down under and came out the other side."
Now he wears Jason's retired crew number
"I wear the pin every day I can to work," Cleaver said. "I try to put it as close to my heart as I can. This is hard. We've come here for 17 years in a row now and I watch Larry Grossnickle put the flower on the wreath and the thoughts that go through my head make it a tough day."
"We are thankful for their sacrifice and service," said Ohio Fraternal Order of Police President Jay McDonald. "We hope and pray no other name gets added to that roll call."
"To this day some of the medals I got, I still don't understand," said Cleaver. "I would gladly give that stuff back to have him here."
This was the seventh annual officer memorial ceremony held at RiverScape. The good news: no names added to the list of fallen officers. since 2002.
Click here to see the list of the fallen officers.
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