County Officers Memorialized
By Helen E. McKinney, Contributing Writer
– Two Carroll County officers have been memorialized for their heroic
efforts, long after they died in the line of duty.
The names of police officer William Carrico Sr. and former Carroll
County Sheriff J. E. Robertson on May 14 were added to the National Law
Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Kentucky Law
Enforcement Memorial in Richmond, Ky., on May 17.
The effort to have the two names inscribed on these monuments was begun
a year ago by Dru Maiden, a Carroll County deputy sheriff since 1994.
“I had always known about the police officer from growing up in the
area,” said Maiden. Then Dave Robertson, the current property valuation
administrator, told her about his uncle, Sheriff Robertson.
She later learned that a police officer had researched Robertson’s
story, and he then sent Maiden a newspaper clipping, she said. She did
further research on her own to fill out the necessary applications forms
and provide death certificates for the two men.
After not receiving a reply, Maiden thought her efforts had been futile.
But she received a letter in February informing her that names were only
added once a year to the monuments, and the two men she sought to add
would be included in May.
Officer Carrico was killed in September 1951 after responding to a
complaint between two neighbors in which Lester Gammon accused Albert
Rosell of poisoning his dog.
Gammon was an ex-convict who opened fire on Carrico and his partner,
Officer Gene Cutshaw, with a high-powered Japanese rifle. Carrico died
instantly on the scene from a shot to the head. Gammon evaded capture
Former Sheriff J. E. Robertson was killed on Sept. 9, 1916, while
attempting to serve a warrant on Lucian Rice for mistreating his family.
As if forewarned of trouble, Robertson took along a backup whom he had
just deputized, Officer Baxter Bright. Shortly after arriving at Rice’s
farm, Rice opened fire on the two men.
Robertson received four wounds, two in the face and two upon his body.
The three men exchanged 15 bullets, and Rice died 45 minutes later.
Bright escaped injury.
Only 37 years old at the time of his death, Robertson was the father of
five children. His wife had died in childbirth seven months previously,
and relatives raised his children.
More than 150,000 people visit the national memorial in Washington,
D.C., annually. The staff has collected and catalogued information on
nearly 15,000 law enforcement fatalities.
Maiden said she has seen the monument, which “brings tears to your eyes.
The Kentucky memorial was dedicated May 16-17 in special ceremonies
attended by Gov. Paul E. Patton and his wife, Judi. Judi Patton spoke of
her own father, Pike County Sheriff Roy Conway, and the sacrifice he had
made by his resulting death in the line of duty.
An estimated 1,200 guests from Kentucky attended the services, which
were held at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. The memorial is
located between the front steps of the Department of Criminal Justice
Training at the Law Enforcement complex on the university campus.
The black granite monument was designed and built by Keith Monument,
Rock of Ages in Elizabethtown, Ky. A second phase of the project
consists of construction of a contributors’ wall and sidewalk to
identify individuals, businesses and organizations that have donated to
the memorial project.
Since neither Robertson family members nor law enforcement officers from
Carroll County attended the ceremonies, officials from Richmond
contacted Maiden asking if she would like Robertson’s flag, so it could
be displayed at the police department in his honor.
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