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Davis Journal

Local businessman donates to send police officers to memorial in Washington, D.C.

Oct 22, 2021 08:33AM ● By Becky Ginos

Scott Keller (center) receives an award from Lt. Allen Ackerson (left) and Centerville Police Chief Paul Child for his support that has made it possible to send two officers to the memorial service in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of CPD

CENTERVILLE—Every year a National Police Officer Memorial is held in Washington, D.C. to honor those who were killed in the line of duty. The experience is so moving that Centerville Police Chief Paul Child wanted to give every officer the opportunity to attend the event sometime during their career. 

“However, the problem was funding,” said Child. “We can’t use city taxes so I approached Scott Keller of Keller investments. I’ve known him for quite a while and I told him about the memorial and asked him if he might support sending two officers to that.”

He was all in without reservation, Child said. “He’s been paying for two officers to go back every year. Now he said he wants to contribute more for the officer to take a spouse.”

Child said he’s gone to the memorial service a few times and it was a touching experience. “The monument is on the Mall. It’s a sacred place where officers can go to mourn fellow officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Their names are etched into the granite monument. It’s a peaceful place.”

Years ago, President Kennedy declared May 15 National Police Memorial Day, he said. “There are a number of activities including the unity tour bike ride from Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. It’s a fundraiser to assist the survivors of those killed. It’s called Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).”

The main activity is a candlelight vigil, said Child. “The names of those who died in the past year are read. About 25,000-30,000 officers attend this. Many have someone they know who was killed.”

The next day the President and other dignitaries speak at the services, he said. “The family members are escorted forward to pin a flower over the police star. It gives them the opportunity to show their love and support of the loved one.”

It’s a poignant moment, Child said. “It’s a time for police officers across the nation to gather, mourn and network with each other and get a higher sense of purpose in what we do.” 

Because of COVID, the memorial was moved to October and was held last week. “We sent two officers back,” said Child. “They were able to escort a survivor family to the star to pin a flower on it. It was a sacred, humbling experience.”

It’s a morale booster, he said. “It doesn’t cost the city and helps with retention and gives them a higher purpose of what we do.”

Centerville started sending officers back in 2018. So far six have had the opportunity to attend the memorial service. “We always choose an officer of the year and then it’s a random selection of who is given the opportunity to go back.”

Keller’s generosity has really benefited the department, Child said. “We’re extremely grateful and honored he’s been willing to do this for us. It’s been very humbling and very nice.”