Peace Officers Memorial Day

GREENFIELD — Today, across the state, flags will fly at half-staff in honor of Hoosier police officers who have lost their lives or been disabled in the line of duty.

Peace Officers Memorial Day is celebrated on May 15 each year, and the week of May 15 is National Police Week.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. It’s been celebrated since 1962.

President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Police Officers Memorial Day in 1962 as a way to honor officers who were killed or disabled while serving their communities. Since then, presidents and governors have directed flags be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset that day.

2. Hancock County will remember three fallen officers.

Hancock County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Malcolm Grass was shot and killed in a police standoff on May 8, 1986. He was 43 and had served two terms as sheriff before his death.

Dannie Garrison, a Hancock County Sheriff’s Department deputy, was 51 in 2001 when he suffered a heart attack while on duty and crashed his police cruiser.

And on Sept. 30, 2010, Greenfield Police Department officer Will Phillips, 32, died in a hit-and-run accident in Henry County while he cycled with fellow officers. He was a member of the department’s bicycle patrol team.

3. The state honors 400 officers killed in the line of duty.

The Officer Down Memorial Page has records of more than 400 Hoosier police officers killed in the line of duty since 1824.

Robert Murphy, a Franklin County Sheriff’s Department officer, is the first recorded Indiana death on the page. He died Nov. 11, 1824, after he was stabbed.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or