Vastavam web: Hundreds of active-duty and retired Pennsylvania State Police troopers from throughout the commonwealth gathered with friends, family, and community members Thursday at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey to remember those who died in the line of duty.
The names of 98 members of the Pennsylvania State Police who died in service to the commonwealth were read aloud beginning with Private John F. Henry, who was shot and killed on September 2, 1906, and ending with Trooper Michael P. Stewart, who lost his life in a two-vehicle crash while on patrol on July 14, 2017.
“Each line-of-duty death links to a unique story of sacrifice – not only from the men who lost their lives, but also from each of their families who felt the pain of the sudden loss of a loved one,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Frances and I keep them, and all the state police, in our thoughts on this solemn day.”
The Pennsylvania State Police was established by Governor Samuel Pennypacker on May 2, 1905, becoming the first uniformed police agency of its kind in the United States. To mark the occasion, Gov. Wolf proclaimed May 2 as Pennsylvania State Police Day.
Starting with an original compliment of just 228 men, the department has grown over the past 114 years to an authorized enlisted compliment of 4,719 and is supported by more than 1,700 civilian employees. It is the 10th-largest police agency in the United States.
“Those of us who have the privilege of wearing the uniform today take great pride in the history of this department and in the men and women who came before us,” said Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick, acting commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “Whether it occurred two years ago or 100 years ago, each member who laid down his life rather than swerve from the path of duty holds a special place in our hearts.”
The day included a moment of silence and rifle salute. An online version of the Pennsylvania State Police memorial wall, including photos and biographies of each member who died in the line of duty, is available at www.psp.pa.gov.