Gone, But Not Forgotten [PHOTOS]
Law enforcement officers in Black Hawk County took time to remember their fallen comrades on Wednesday (May 16, 2018).
Officers from each of the county’s 10 agencies gathered for a ceremony to honor the 14 local men who have died in uniform since 1902, all while trying to protect the public. This year's ceremony -- held annually in conjunction with National Police Week -- took place outside Veterans Memorial Hall in downtown Waterloo.
The group of local officers who gave their lives in the line of duty over the years includes eight policemen from Waterloo, one from Cedar Falls, a La Porte City officer, two Black Hawk County sheriff’s deputies, and two Iowa State Patrol troopers.
"Their supreme sacrifices not only affected their families, but also affected their co-workers, friends, neighbors and our whole communities," said State Sen. William "Bill" Dotzler (D-Waterloo), the keynote speaker. "Their sacrifices in the line of duty also underscore the inherent dangers of safeguarding the lives and properties of our community."
Waterloo Police Sergeant Robert Greenlee III was also recognized during the ceremony. He was a 24-year veteran with the department who was found dead at his home in April, shortly after working his shift. The cause of his death hasn't been released.
Dotzler noted that officers always have to be on high alert when dealing with the public because they don't know the dangers they might face. He said statistics have shown that the constant stress can create health issues for officers, such as bad eating habits, poor exercise, and mood and depression issues.
"Also, post dramatic stress among our officers is finally being recognized as a real issue as one considers the scenes of death, dangerous and frightening incidents they are exposed to," Dotzler said. "They can carry that with them throughout their careers."
Dotzler noted that traffic fatalities are the leading cause of police officer deaths in Iowa and across the nation.
"Whether it’s driving in a response, including emergencies, or working outside their vehicles on busy streets, the risk is constantly there for our officers," Dotzler said. "There are also hidden dangers to the job that also need to be recognized that can adversely affect and damage their lives.”
Each law enforcement agency in Black Hawk County takes a turn at organizing the local Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony, which is rotated among them. Hudson police volunteered to host this year's event in a trade with the La Porte City Department, which has been busy with the ongoing search for missing autistic teenager Jake Wilson.
The list of local officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice includes:
- John E. Bailey – Waterloo Police Dept. (died in 1902)
- Fred P. Widmann – Waterloo Police Dept. (1908)
- William Goodenbour – Waterloo Police Dept. (1920)
- Vinton J. Margretz – Waterloo Police Dept. (1925)
- Wendell F. Dilworth – Black Hawk County Sheriff's Dept. (1932)
- Everett Dutcher – Cedar Falls Police Dept. (1945)
- William R. Mehlhorn, Jr. – Waterloo Police Dept. (1956)
- Gabriel C. LaFromboise – La Porte City Police Dept. (1976)
- Wayne R Rice - Waterloo Police Dept. (1981)
- Michael W. Hoing – Waterloo Police Dept. (1981)
- William F. Mullikin – Black Hawk County Sheriff's Dept. (1981)
- Charles G. Whitney – Iowa State Patrol (1985)
- Lance G. Dietsch – Iowa State Patrol (1989)
- Adam D. Liddle - Waterloo Police Dept. (2015)