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Keyword: fallen heroes

A memorial service to honor Baltimore County police officers who died while performing their duties will take place Friday, May 11 at 10 a.m. The service will be held in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse located at 400 Washington Avenue in Towson.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan, government dignitaries and the families of the fallen will attend the service.

Nine wreaths will be placed at the memorial by the Police Department Honor Guard. The nine are in memory of the fallen nine officers.

The names of officers who died and who will be remembered for their service and dedication are:

Officer Jason Schneider
On August 28, 2013, Tactical Officer Jason Schneider was shot while serving a warrant in Precinct 1/Wilkens. An investigation into an August 19 shooting on Winters Lane led detectives to a home on Roberts Avenue. Tactical Officer Schneider was shot after an exchange of gunfire with a subject inside the Roberts Avenue home. He was transferred to Shock Trauma, where he later died. Officer Schneider was 36 years old.

Lieutenant Michael Howe
Lieutenant Michael Howe died on August 11, 2008 following a massive stroke. On August 10, 2008, Lieutenant Howe was with his unit at the scene of a murder-suicide in Precinct 4/Pikesville. When Lieutenant Howe returned home after the incident, he collapsed. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital where he died the next afternoon.

Sergeant Mark Parry
Sergeant Mark Parry died on January 21, 2002 from injuries sustained in a traffic crash. On December 27, 2001, while on routine patrol in Towson, Sergeant Parry’s unmarked police car was hit by a drunk driver. The driver fled the scene and was arrested a short distance later.

Officer John Stem
Officer John Stem died on October 19, 2000 of complications of paraplegia caused by a line-of-duty gunshot wound he suffered in July 1977. Officer Charles Huckeba was fatally wounded during the same incident in Precinct 1/Wilkens. Officers Stem and Huckeba and other officers were trying to subdue an agitated, armed, 19-year-old man who barricaded himself in his family’s home.

Sergeant Bruce Prothero
On February 7, 2000, Sergeant Bruce Prothero was shot and killed during an armed robbery on Reisterstown Road. Four men robbed the jewelry store where the married father of five worked part time as a security guard. Sergeant Prothero followed the armed robbers out of the store and was shot by one of the men. He died an hour later at a local hospital.

Officer Robert Zimmerman
On November 5, 1986, Officer Robert Zimmerman was on foot patrol on Edmondson Avenue in Precinct 1/Wilkens when he was struck in traffic and critically injured. The 41-year-old officer died on November 14, 1986 as a result of his injuries.

Corporal Samuel Snyder
In August of 1983, Corporal Samuel Snyder, a 30-year veteran of the department, was shot by a mentally ill subject while responding to a call for assistance from fellow officers in Towson. Officer Snyder died on August 23, 1983 from his wounds.

Officer Charles Huckeba
Officer Charles Huckeba was shot and killed on July 6, 1977 in Precinct 1/Wilkens as police attempted to talk an armed, drug-abusing, barricaded youth into surrendering. Officer John Stem was also injured during this incident. Officer Stem succumbed to his injuries 23 years later on October 19, 2000.

Officer Edward Kuznar
On December 9, 1969, Officer Edward Kuznar died as a result of a traffic accident. While on traffic patrol near Kingsville, Kuznar was hit head-on by a driver who crossed the center line and crashed into his police car. Both the officer and the driver were killed.

The Baltimore County Police Department Memorial consists of a carved replica of the department badge, flanked by two memorial tablets engraved with the names of those who have died in the line-of-duty since the department was established in 1874.

It bears the inscription:

In lasting memory of those officers and families who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.

Matthew 5:9

Today is Police Memorial Day, the annual remembrance of the nine Baltimore County Police Department's who died in the line of duty, as well as department members who died while in police service.

BCoPD's fallen officers are: Officer Edward Kuznar (d. 1969); Officer Charles A. Huckeba (d. 1977); Corporal Samuel L. Snyder (d. 1983); Officer Robert W. Zimmerman (d. 1986); Sergeant Bruce A. Prothero (d. 2000); Officer John W. Stem Sr. (d. 2000); Sergeant Mark F. Parry (d. 2002); Lieutenant Michael  P. Howe (d. 2008); and Officer Jason L. Schneider (d. 2013).

The ceremony, usually held at Patriot Plaza in Towson, was moved due to inclement weather to the County Council chambers at the Historic Courthouse in Towson. Here is the text of Police Chief Jim Johnson' remarks:

Good morning, fellow officers, honored guests and citizens of Baltimore County. Thank you for taking the time to be with us as we observe our annual Police Memorial Day. This is an occasion to remember the nine Baltimore County Police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty and, in so doing, to contemplate the meaning of the work that we do.

I do not need to tell you that all across this nation law enforcement finds itself beset by turmoil, controversy and danger. Here in Maryland, police over the past 12 months have been touched by all three.

The turmoil from the 2015 unrest in Baltimore City – felt keenly here and the other counties touching Baltimore -- carried over into the New Year and has yet to see resolution in the courts and in the court of public opinion.

The controversy spawned by the Freddie Gray incident and by contentious incidents in other towns, cities and states continues to dominate headlines, foment divisions and cast an unrelenting spotlight on our mission, methods and motives.

Police work is inherently dangerous. The danger is not – as some critics of law enforcement contend – a myth. Police have not invented a threat in order to avoid a conversation about accountability. We understand fully the need to explain and defend the use of the powers entrusted to us, and to confront errors and wrongdoing on our part. We are not imagining that the times have produced anger and resentment over everything from economic and racial injustice to mental health issues and the perceived failure of institutions. All of this has morphed into a feeling of disdain for governmental authority in general and of contempt for police in particular.

While most Americans respect police and understand the challenges we face each day, the present climate is a breeding ground for non-compliance with and violence against officers. Even wholly justifiable police actions are scrutinized, criticized and second-guessed in TV and newspaper stories, on social media and around water coolers. Pervasive anti-police rhetoric empowers the few – the unbalanced and the radical – to turn their feelings into deadly action.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice published a study on ambush attacks on police. It notes, “Concerns about targeted violence against police are rising in an era of strained community relations, struggles with police legitimacy, and anti-government extremism.”  After years of holding steady, the number of ambushes on police is rising and now constitutes the second-leading cause of shooting deaths of officers; the recent deaths of two Harford County sheriff’s deputies and a Prince George’s County detective in unprovoked, sudden attacks make us painfully aware of this fact.

It is nearly two years – an eternity in this era of 30-second attention spans -- since events in Ferguson, Missouri started us down this difficult road, and still there is no end in sight. We must remember that the tenacity of this national debate shows that citizens in many communities have experiences and a point of view to which attention must be paid. The discontent is not based on nothing.

And yet, as an officer for more than 40 years who has witnessed the commitment and sacrifice of thousands of fellow police men and women and the ultimate sacrifice of far too many, I am disturbed by the disparagement of our profession. I am troubled at the stubbornness of the chosen narrative of “problem policing,” even when the facts show an officer properly responded to a threat.  I am concerned that the mood of the moment may cause some – even some of us – to question the nobility and worth of our calling.

Last year, 124 U.S. officers gave their lives in the quest for a peaceful, orderly world; 42 of them died by gunfire. Thirty-five already have died this year. These figures actually understate the risks. Given that the number of non-fatal shootings is rising, we can conclude that the number of fatalities would be even higher were it not for advances in protective gear and other technology – and especially for advances in the Fire, EMS and medical profession. These first responders are saving people who in earlier eras would have died, while taking on plenty of risk themselves. They are our partners, and we thank them.

To take a longer view, consider the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. More than 20,000 names of officers killed in the line of duty are inscribed on this monument; the first known death dates back to 1791. Regardless of when they lived and died, these were men and women of valor: Fearless in the face of danger, caring of their fellow man, driven by a cause more important than themselves.

Our nine fallen heroes are remembered there, as they are here:

Edward Kuznar … Charles Huckeba … Samuel Snyder … Robert Zimmerman … Bruce Prothero … John Stem … Mark Parry … Michael Howe … Jason Schneider.

This morning is a time to remember them as we knew them – as friends, as fathers, as sons and brothers. It is a time for laughter as we recall them in happier times. It may be a time to feel the pangs of grief anew.

But most of all, this ceremony is a chance to reflect on why we are police officers … and why – no matter how fraught the times – the work we do matters.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017