Fallen Somerset County officers honored
Members of the Police Chiefs Association of Somerset County are not sure of the final resting place for a memorial plaque that honors Somerset County law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
“We know that we want it to be placed where it is visible for visitors at this courthouse so they can stop and take a moment to look at it,” Sheriff Brad Cramer said Friday prior to a dedication ceremony for the plaque at the Somerset County Courthouse.
Indian Lake Borough police Chief Jerry Bellak spoke from the podium in Courtroom No. 1, looking behind him at a line of law enforcement officers standing at attention in their dress uniforms. He spoke of those who “made the ultimate sacrifice” and those who work in dangerous situations but still go to work with that knowledge.
“What I see is pride, dedication and honor in the job,” he said.
The Police Chiefs Association of Somerset County wanted to do something to honor those who have died in the line of duty while serving county residents.
A memorial committee was formed and composed of Hooversville Borough police Chief Adam Richards, Somerset County Detective Jeffrey Doman and Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dusty Weir.
A list of honorees was created and a plaque crafted. The county commissioners provided the opportunity and the space in the courthouse to recognize these officers.
The list of eight officers begins with the first recorded death of a Somerset County law enforcement officer in the line of duty: Deputy Constable John J. Lenhart, on Sept. 18, 1898.
The other honorees are:
Trooper Stephen R. Gyurke, Aug. 24, 1958
Conemaugh Township police Officer George R. Banfield, May 12, 1984
Trooper Joseph James Sepp Jr., Nov. 10, 2002
Elk Lick Township police Chief Sheridan O. Caton, July 11, 2004
FBI Special Agent Samuel Steele Hicks, Nov. 19, 2008
St. Clair Township police Officer Lloyd Earl Reed Jr., Nov. 28, 2015
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Sgt. Mark J. Baserman, Feb. 26, 2018