Originally created 05/15/04

Honoring the fallen



On Friday, local public safety officials participated in a ceremony many wish wasn't necessary - honoring a fallen comrade.

Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Burton, who died in the line of duty in January, was honored by officials with a wreath-laying ceremony at Augusta's Police Memorial at Riverwalk Augusta.

"Law enforcement officers and those they protect know that they're accepting a terrible risk when they take their oaths," Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said.

"Still, when one dies in the line of duty, we cannot escape the overwhelming shock and grief.

"It is especially traumatic for the residents of our community when one of their protectors dies," he said.

The ceremony came at the end of National Police Week.

Richmond County sheriff's deputies, marshal's deputies, Richmond County Board of Education Public Safety officers, Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department firefighters and local FBI agents attended Friday's ceremony.

They were joined by the family of Deputy Burton, who died after he was struck by a car while directing traffic around an accident at Peach Orchard Road.

Deputy Burton's name has been inscribed onto the monument along with the other names of Richmond County law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

The front side of the monument is full of the names of officers who have fallen since the 19th century; Deputy Burton's name is the first to be inscribed on the rear side of the granite monument at Heroes Overlook.

"Mrs. Burton, you're part of our family," Sheriff Strength said, speaking as his hands trembled slightly at the podium. "You and Kenneth will never be forgotten."

Augusta Commissioner Willie Mays stressed the city's commitment to its law enforcement officers.

"We can talk about all the great buildings we're going to build ... but if there is no one there to protect, serve and defend it, it means really nothing," Mr. Mays said.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.

THE FALLEN

The following is a list of officers in Richmond County who have died in the line of duty since 1893, listed with agencies and dates of death:

  • Officer W. R. Parker, Augusta Police Department, Feb. 8, 1893

  • Officer Joe F. Murray, Augusta Police Department, Dec. 24, 1894

  • Officer F. H. Murphy , Augusta Police Department, Aug. 30, 1905

  • Officer Walter S. Wilkins , Augusta Police Department, Feb. 25, 1907

  • Detective W. M. Collins, Augusta Police Department, July 6, 1910

  • Sgt. Jefferson A. F. Smoak , Augusta Police Department, Jan. 28, 1915

  • Deputy Richard Morgan, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Sept. 1, 1919

  • Officer William Washington Moore, Augusta Police Department, Aug. 16, 1921

  • Sgt. Edward Hezikiah Quarles, Augusta Police Department, Sept. 5, 1924

  • Officer Barney Edward Harmon, Augusta Police Department, March 10, 1932

  • Officer Samuel B. Hardy, Augusta Police Department, Feb. 2, 1934

  • Officer Thomas G. Timmons, Augusta Police Department, July 6, 1934

  • Officer Guy Samuel Berry, Augusta Police Department, Nov. 8, 1934

  • Officer Richard Henry Riley Jr., Augusta Police Department, May 28, 1941

  • Deputy Carlton M. Pond, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, April 24, 1957

  • Officer Frank Henderson Wall, Jr., Augusta Police Department, Nov. 11, 1958

  • Officer Joe Reynolds, Augusta Police Department, June 14, 1959

  • Deputy Pressley Eugene Humphrey, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, June 7, 1965

  • Deputy William A. Elliott, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Feb. 25, 1968

  • Officer Jimmy O. Harris, Augusta Police Department, Jan. 18, 1970

  • Officer James Melvin Haywood, Richmond County Correctional Institution, Feb. 18, 1971

  • Officer Lester Eugene Sleister, Augusta Police Department, Jan. 8, 1972

  • Investigator Larry Douglas Stevens, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Jan. 24, 1979

  • Capt. John Louis Francisco Sr., Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Aug. 16, 1982

  • Lt. James Cromer Haupfear, Augusta Police Department, Jan. 14, 1984

  • Deputy Bruce Williford, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Feb. 2, 1987

  • Officer Herbert Lee Evans Jr., Augusta Police Department, July 3, 1988

  • Sgt. Charles Thomas Hammock, Augusta Police Department, Dec. 18, 1990

  • Officer Michael D. Stephenson, Richmond County Board of Education Public Safety, July 16, 1997

  • Deputy Kenneth R. Burton, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Jan. 4, 2004

    These officers also died while active law enforcement officers:

  • Chief Dianne J. Wasson, Richmond County Board of Education Public Safety, Jan. 3, 1996, undisclosed illness

  • Investigator Mark Timothy Wells, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, March 21, 1998, brain tumor
    Sources: Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Augusta Chronicle archives