The ultimate sacrifice

Carrollton officers who died
in line of duty honored on memorials

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(June, 2002) CARROLLTON, Ky. – Two Carroll County officers have been memorialized for their heroic efforts, long after they died in the line of duty.
The names of police officer William Carrico Sr. and former Carroll County Sheriff J. E. Robertson on May 14 were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial in Richmond, Ky., on May 17.

Poster of memorial
to police officers

The effort to have the two names inscribed on these monuments was begun a year ago by Dru Maiden, a Carroll County deputy sheriff since 1994.
“I had always know about the police officer from growing up in the area,” said Maiden. Then Dave Robertson, the current property valuation administrator, told her about his uncle, Sheriff Robertson.
She later learned that a police officer had researched Robertson’s story, and he then sent Maiden a newspaper clipping, she said. She did further research on her own to fill out the necessary applications forms and provide death certificates for the two men.
After not receiving a reply, Maiden thought her efforts had been futile. But she received a letter in February informing her that names were only added once a year to the monuments, and the two men she sought to add would be included in May.
Officer Carrico was killed in September 1951 after responding to a complaint between two neighbors in which Lester Gammon accused Albert Rosell of poisoning his dog.
Gammon was an ex-convict who opened fire on Carrico and his partner, Officer Gene Cutshaw, with a high-powered Japanese rifle. Carrico died instantly on the scene from a shot to the head. Gammon evaded capture and fled.
Former Sheriff J. E. Robertson was killed on Sept. 9, 1916, while attempting to serve a warrant on Lucian Rice for mistreating his family.
As if forewarned of trouble, Robertson took along a backup whom he had just deputized, Officer Baxter Bright. Shortly after arriving at Rice’s farm, Rice opened fire on the two men.
Robertson received four wounds, two in the face and two upon his body. The three men exchanged 15 bullets, and Rice died 45 minutes later. Bright escaped injury.
Only 37 years old at the time of his death, Robertson was the father of five children. His wife had died in childbirth seven months previously, and relatives raised his children.
More than 150,000 people visit the national memorial in Washington, D.C., annually. The staff has collected and catalogued information on nearly 15,000 law enforcement fatalities.
Maiden said she has seen the monument, which “brings tears to your eyes. It’s overwhelming.”
The Kentucky memorial was dedicated May 16-17 in special ceremonies attended by Gov. Paul E. Patton and his wife, Judi. Judi Patton spoke of her own father, Pike County Sheriff Roy Conway, and the sacrifice he had made by his resulting death in the line of duty.
An estimated 1,200 guests from Kentucky attended the services, which were held at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. The memorial is located between the front steps of the Department of Criminal Justice Training at the Law Enforcement complex on the university campus.
The black granite monument was designed and built by Keith Monument, Rock of Ages in Elizabethtown, Ky. A second phase of the project consists of construction of a contributors’ wall and sidewalk to identify individuals, businesses and organizations that have donated to the memorial project.
Since neither Robertson family members nor law enforcement officers from Carroll County attended the ceremonies, officials from Richmond contacted Maiden asking if she would like Robertson’s flag, so it could be displayed at the police department in his honor.

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