Governor, widow Brandy Durman reflect on newly signed Bryan Durman Act
RICHMOND, Ky. (May 8, 2013) – As heavy clouds loomed overhead, hundreds gathered Tuesday at the 14th annual Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony to honor the sacrifice of eight Kentucky law enforcement officers who gave their lives in service to the commonwealth.
“The Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial monument now contains 509 names,” Gov. Steve Beshear announced to those attending. “Behind those 509 names are 509 stories of heroic action, 509 examples of duty and courage that inspire all who wear the badge.
“I can assure you that we in Kentucky do not take you or your commitment for granted,” he reminded the uniformed officers present at the ceremony.
Two Kentucky officers were killed in the line of duty in 2012. Hodgenville Police Department Officer Mark A. Taulbee, who was killed in a vehicle pursuit Sept. 16, 2012, and Marion County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Anthony Rakes, who was shot to death during a traffic stop Nov. 14, 2012, were honored as their loved ones received flags memorializing their lives and sacrifice.
“It is no small decision to choose this career and to go out in the world each day to face violence, abuse, hatred, evil, greed and fear in pursuit of your duty,” Beshear said. “But remember, you do not stand alone. And that’s really what this memorial represents. It reminds us that throughout history, men and women in the Bluegrass State have stood strong together to protect the public good.”
The widow of fallen Lexington Division of Police Officer Bryan Durman also addressed the assembled families and friends.
“Through this tragic event and the death of my husband I have gained peace. Though it is not the peace I once knew, it is a new sort of normal. And I have found purpose,” she said.
Brandy Durman spearheaded legislation which toughens the punishment for those responsible for the deaths of police officers and firefighters.
“When Braydon (her son) asked me if the bad man who hurt his daddy would be in jail forever, I said, ‘Yes.’” Little did I know this was a lie,” she said. “He will be eligible for parole next year, only four years after my husband lost his life in the line of duty. He only has to serve 20 percent of his original sentence before he will be eligible to be back on the streets again. That’s when I drafted a letter to Sen. Alice Kerr.”
The Bryan Durman Act was ceremonially signed on April 29, the third anniversary of Bryan Durman’s death.
“Everyone wanted to be on board to protect those folks that protect us every day, to do something to give their families a little bit of peace,” Durman said.
Bryan Durman’s name was added to the monument in 2011.
The ceremony also honored six Kentucky officers killed in the line of duty between 1884 and 1950, but whose names were not added to the national memorial until recently. One of the criteria for having a name placed on the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial is that it be on the National Law Enforcement Memorial. Those officers’ names are:
U.S. Marshal Releigh Killion, killed May 24, 1884
Thomas D. Martin, Stanford Police Department, died May 16, 1931
Thee Madden, Knott County Sheriff’s Office, died March 10, 1933
Vernon C. Snellen, Kentucky Highway Patrol, died Feb. 20, 1937
Bill Baker, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, died March 11, 1950
George Puckett, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, died April 26, 1950
The Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial monument stands in memory of nearly every Kentucky peace officers who has been killed in the line of duty. This year’s additions bring the total number of names on the monument to 509.
The memorial foundation was established in 1999 to build the unique memorial. Once the memorial was completed in 2000, the organization expanded its efforts to include an ongoing financial endowment program, which helps Kentucky peace officers’ and their families with educational, medical and emergency needs.