Two Missouri police officers and two sheriff’s deputies who died in the line of duty in between 1917 and 2017 were honored May 5 during Missouri’s annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service for those who have paid the ultimate price for their service protecting their fellow Missourians.
Officers, their families and friends from across the state gathered at the Carnahan Memorial Garden, near the site of Missouri’s Law Enforcement Memorial, where the names of Barry County Sheriff’s Office Master Sergeant Deputy Carl T. Cosper and Clinton Police Officer Gary L. Michael, Jr. both of whom died in 2017, were added to the memorial’s Wall of Honor. Also honored on the wall were Village of Miramiguoa Police Officer Kevin M. Dziejma, who died of a heart attack during a traffic stop in 2015, and Platte County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Edward E. Culver, who was shot and killed after responding to an altercation in 1917.
Gov. Eric Greitens was the guest speaker at the memorial service.
“Each day, a select, brave few Missourians put on body armor, leave their homes, and risk their lives to protect their fellow citizens and make our streets safer,” Gov. Eric Greitens said. “Today, we honor those who never made it home; those who courageously and selflessly made the ultimate sacrifice in service to others. We will never forget the examples they set or the families they left behind.”
“There is no nobler career than law enforcement, and the heroes we honor today were the best among us,” Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden said. “We will always remember the lives they lived, the values they died protecting. We stand with and support their survivors, who will always remain part of our Missouri law enforcement family.”
Each year, the families of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in the previous year, and through the decades, participate in the ceremony by placing white carnations in a wreath in honor for Missouri’s fallen heroes.
On Friday, May 4, a candlelight vigil was held at the memorial in remembrance of all Missouri law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The following law enforcement officer’s names were added to the memorial wall this year:
Carl T. Cosper
End of Watch: April 7, 2017
Rank: Master Sergeant
Department: Barry County Sheriff’s Office
Cause: Struck by vehicle
Years of Service: 10 years with Barry County Sheriff’s Office and 23 years as a law enforcement officer. On April 7, 2017, Deputy Cosper was killed in a vehicle collision as he responded to a domestic violence call.
Gary L. Michael, Jr.
End of Watch: Aug. 6, 2017
Department: Clinton Police Department
Years of Service: Less than one year with the Clinton Police Department and 14 months as a law enforcement officer. On Aug. 6, 2017, Officer Michael was shot a killed by a man with a rifle who exited his vehicle and immediately fired after Officer Michael had made a routine traffic stop.
Kevin M. Dziejma
End of Watch: May 18, 2015
Department: Village of Miramiguoa Police Department
Cause: Heart attack
Years of Service: Four years with Village of Miramiguoa Police and seven years as a law enforcement officer. Officer Dziejma died of a heart attack during a traffic stop as he conducted warrant checks on two subjects.
Edward E. Culver
End of Watch: June 23, 1917
Rank: Deputy Sheriff
Department: Platte County Sheriff’s Office
Years of Service: Deputy Culver had served four years with the Platte County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Culver was shot and killed as he and another deputy worked to break up an altercation in a saloon. A subject disarmed the other deputy and shot Deputy Culver in the chest. Despite being mortally wounded, Deputy Culver returned fire, killing the gunman.