Friday, May 18, 2012

Remembering Craig

This is Police Week, so declared by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.  Peace Officers Memorial Day is on May 15 each year, and was marked by a ceremony on the steps of the Hall of Justice and Law Enforcement Center on Tuesday.  Today, the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office is holding a ground breaking ceremony to dedicate Craig Dodge Memorial Park at 421 Main Street in Hickman, NE.  This is the location where Deputy Craig D. Dodge was killed on March 14, 1987.  Craig was the last law enforcement officer in Lancaster County and Lincoln to be killed in the line of duty.

It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since Craig's death.  At the time, I was the newly-appointed Chief Deputy Sheriff of Lancaster County, 33 years old.  Around 5:30 AM that morning, I was called at home by a dispatcher, and was one of the first arriving deputies at the scene.  I was ill-prepared for the intensity of the days that followed, as our relatively small agency managed a murder investigation, a media spectacle, a huge funeral, and our own emotions, while trying to care for the needs of Craig's family as best we could.

Craig was killed at the door of Apt. 9, down a long hallway on the second floor of the old Hickman School, which had been converted to apartments.  The building was razed a few years ago, and will now be the site of a city park named in Craig's honor. The Sheriff's Office is planning a memorial in the park in remembrance of deputies who have died in the line of duty. I expect it will be a nice spot for quiet contemplation, and I commend the deputies and employees who are working on this project.


Steve said...

There are other lines of work that may be more dangerous, but it's one thing to die from an accident, and another to have your life cut short by an intentional criminal act. It's good to see people recognize the commitment and sacrifices of not just those who died in the line of duty, but all those who choose to protect and serve.

Anonymous said...

Almost anyone will put their self in danger to help family or friends. It takes a special person to face danger to help a total stranger. That is what our police, fire and military people do. Thanks to all of them for the job they do.
Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

I will never forget the day Deputy Dodge was murdered. Maybe it was my immaturity, lack of life experience, or because I was so naive about the world. But, at the time, I was so in shock that an Officer would be killed by someone. The bad guys were supposed to be the ones who were killed by the good guys, right?

Since that terrible day, I have, unfortunately, had to learn that, indeed, the brave ones wearing the badge don't always make it home. That sometimes, justice reeks of injustice, and family, friends, co-workers are left to pick up the pieces of a painful loss that never ends. We're twenty five years older and the sorrow has not diminished for anyone. My heart still aches for all of you. I feel, if it brings ME to tears to remember, what does it do to those that knew him personally and loved him?

Now, ALL my children wear badges. They take up where Officers like Deputy Dodge left off. Good guys...that are supposed to shoot the bad guys...we just never know, do we? God bless Deputy Dodge, his precious family, and co-workers,and friends. You can all say you knew a real hero.

Anonymous said...

Craig was a member of the 1962 Lincoln Southeast Knights high school class. He was remembered this weekend during the celebration of our 50th Reunion in Lincoln.

Everyone remembers him as a very popular and highly regarded member of our class. The news of a memorial park in his name was very well received, and I am certain classmates will contribute to the memorial fund.

While the circumstances of his death continue to shock us, we still have the memories of his kindness, dedication and smiling face.