City of Alcoa Police to Host Memorial Service
As part of National Police Week, the City of Alcoa Police Department will be hosting a Peace Officer Memorial Service at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 15th to honor and recognize fallen officers across the county, state and country.
Originally, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office was to host the event. With two fallen City of Alcoa officers accepted this past year for inclusion on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., it was decided Alcoa should host the event.
Alcoa Police Records Clerk Missy Green initiated the effort to have the Alcoa officers recognized. She submitted the requests and supporting documentation to have their names accepted for inclusion on the memorial. This included death certificates, newspaper articles, and affidavits of people who were present. With one death dating back to 1937, it took Green’s hard work and persistence to uncover the required documentation.
The two officers' names are expected to be formally dedicated May 13th in Washington at a candlelight vigil during National Police Week. They are Lt. Glen Giles, who died July 3, 1987, and Officer William M. Hunt, who passed away July 7, 1937. Giles, while still on duty, was found in his police car having died of a heart attack hours after arresting a resistant suspect. In doing her research, Green found that Hunt's name had never been submitted for inclusion in the memorial. He had been hired as a “special officer” during a time of disturbances by striking ALCOA plant. One such disturbance saw picketers and police engage in gunfire that resulted in Hunt being shot and killed.
Two other fallen Alcoa officers already are on the national memorial. Sergeant Timothy Joe Hunt died when riding on US 129 when a pick-up truck pulled out from a cross street in front of him. He died from his injuries the next day, April 20, 2000. Patrolman Fred Guffey died August 31, 1952 after being shot by an ex-convict who grabbed the officer’s weapon and shot him as he was attempting to arrest the man.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed National Peace Officers Memorial Day as May 15th and National Police Week on the week in which May 15 falls.Every year, thousands of law enforcement officers around the country participate in a number of nationwide and local events to pay tribute to the men and women killed during service. According to data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, in 2017, 128 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. This is a 10 percent decrease over the 143 officers who died in the line-of-duty last year. Texas had the largest number of deaths at 14.
U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee Doug Overbey is scheduled to speak at the local event. There will be a video presentation shown including each of the 9 local memorialized officers, 4 each from the cities of Alcoa and Maryville police departments and 1 from the Blount County sheriff’s office. The event is open to the public and residents are invited to attend. The service will take place at the City of Alcoa Public Safety Building at 2020 N. Wright Road in Alcoa.