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Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial Services to be Held May 2 & 3


By Kansas Highway Patrol


KANSAS — In honor of National Police Week, and National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, the State of Kansas will be holding its annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on Friday, May 3. A Candlelight Vigil will take place on Thursday, May 2. The public is encouraged to attend the memorial events that take place in Kansas.

The annual Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary, Topeka #3, will be on Thursday, May 3, in the First Floor Rotunda area of the Statehouse, with a Candle Lighting Ceremony to follow at the Kansas Law Enforcement Monument. The vigil will begin at 8:00 p.m.

The annual Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 3 at the Kansas Statehouse, Second Floor Rotunda, at 12:00 p.m. A Wreath-Laying Ceremony will follow at the Kansas Law Enforcement Monument, which is on the northeast quadrant of the Statehouse grounds.

Three names have been added to the Kansas Law Enforcement Monument this year:

  • Officer Jonah Oswald, Fairway Police Department, End of Watch: August 6, 2023
    Jonah Oswald, age 29, a veteran police officer served as a patrol officer with the Fairway Police Department for 4 years. At 7:30am on August 6, 2023, Lenexa police officers responded to reports of a stolen vehicle. As responding officers attempted to apprehend the male and female suspects, the stolen vehicle struck a Lenexa patrol car. Officers from neighboring agencies, including the Fairway Police Department, responded to assist in the pursuit which ended when the suspects crashed their vehicle and ran inside a convenience store. When Officer Oswald and other responding officers entered the store attempting to arrest the fleeing suspects, gunfire erupted. Officer Oswald, critically wounded during the gunfire exchange, succumbed to his wounds the following day. The male suspect was shot and killed; the female suspect was taken into custody. Officer Oswald is survived by his wife and two sons.


  • City Marshall William J. Talbott, La Cross City Marshal, End of Watch: February 1, 1904
    William J. Talbott, age 55, a La Crosse City Marshal and Civil War veteran was shot and killed on February 1, 1904, by a local merchant who had been drinking for several hours before the tragic encounter. Marshal Talbott attempted to arrest the man for public intoxication after the prominent La Crosse merchant made verbal threats against the Marshal’s life. Marshal Talbott ordered the merchant to remain inside his place of business and to stay off the streets. Following a verbal altercation, the man retreated momentarily back inside his store only to return, shooting Marshal Talbott once with a Colt revolver. Talbott succumbed to his gunshot wound a few minutes later. The prominent merchant was convicted and sentenced to the Kansas Penitentiary at Lansing.  La Crosse City Marshal Talbott was survived by his wife, and three living sons at the time of his death.


  • Railroad Special Agent George R. Stewart, Union Pacific Railroad, End of Watch: July 27, 191
    George R. Stewart, age 57, a railroad special agent employed in his first year with the Union Pacific Railroad, was assigned bridge security duties near Perry, Kansas. During World War I, the railroad received frequent threats to bomb or sabotage railroad bridges that carried military troop trains. The railroad assigned special agents to security duties which required agents to cross bridges immediately behind passenger train movements to protect against potential threats. While performing his law enforcement duties at the railroad’s Delaware River bridge near Perry, Special Agent Stewart was following on foot behind a westbound troop train that had just passed. Agent Stewart failed to see an eastbound train which struck him, killing him instantly. Special Agent Stewart was survived by his wife, two daughters, two sons and three stepsons.


In honor of National Police Week and National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, the Patrol joins COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) for Project Blue Ribbon. COPS is a national non-profit organization for the families of officers lost in the line of duty. As part of Project Blue Ribbon, the Patrol is encouraging the public to tie blue ribbons to their vehicles as a reminder of the many officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. It also honors those officers who are working every day, putting their lives on the line.  A limited supply of the official COPS ribbons will be available at General Headquarters; however, any 18-inch strip of royal blue ribbon will show your support.

In 2023, 136 officers were killed in the line of duty in the U.S., according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. So far in 2024, as of April 29, in the U.S., 51 officers have been killed in the line of duty.