KSP lays wreaths for fallen troopers
BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- On Tuesday, Kentucky State Police visited the graves of troopers who died in the line of duty while serving the Post 3 area in Bowling Green and surrounding counties. It’s taking place as the nation celebrates National Police Week that began Sunday.
Family members of the fallen laid wreaths decorated with blue flowers at their loved one’s graves. The ceremonies took place at gravesites in several counties; including Warren, Barren, Edmonson and Butler counties.
Those in attendance spoke about courage, the act of serving others above self and the ultimate sacrifice.
“This ceremony gives an opportunity for current troopers to pay their respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Trooper Jeremy Hodges, public information officer at Kentucky State Police Post 3.
Lieutenant William Smith is buried at the Fairview Cemetery in Bowling Green. He was shot while attempting to arrest a murder suspect in Warren County. He died from the gunshot wound in 1973.
“He was trying to catch a bad person and paid for it,” said Smith’s son Tommy Smith, who is a retired state trooper.
Troopers visited six graves in total, including the grave of Trooper Darrell Vendl Phelps, which is in Morgantown. Phelps was shot while investigating an illegal marijuana operation. He died in 1981.
“It was the ultimate sacrifice just like the Trooper’s Creed states, and it’s heroic,” said Phelps’ son and namesake Darrell Phelps, he is also a retired state trooper.
Family members of both Smith and Phelps call the slain lawmen “heroes.”
“It always gave me something to strive towards, look up to, a standard to try and meet. I hope that I did,” Smith said.
Other former Troopers honored during today’s ceremonies include; Walter O. Thurtell in Adairville, William H. Barrett in Woodbury, Tenn., Patrolman James P. Hays in Cave City and Patrolman Robert Rowland in Franklin.