Fallen officers honored appropriately
Family, police officers and law enforcement supporters gathered to dedicate the Clay County Peace Officers Memorial on Wednesday, Aug. 25, in Piggott, Rector and Corning.
Formal ceremonies were held in Piggott and Corning and an informal dedication in Rector. Monuments have been erected in each of the three cities at the courthouses in Piggott and Corning and at the Rector City Hall.
The officers honored on the memorial are St. Francis Town Marshal Dan Stanfield, Clay County sheriffs Doug Batey and Bill Pond, Rector City Marshal Tom Greene and Clay County deputies Glen Archer and Troy Key.
Clay County Sheriff Ronnie Cole opened the ceremony, which included the presentation of the colors and a gun salute by members of the Arkansas Sheriffs' Association Honor Guard and a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace" by John Voorhees of the Greene County Sheriff's Department.
The prayer was given by Charles Carrens, son-in-law of Sheriff Batey.
"This memorial is the final chapter of a long chain of events," said Barbara Carrens, Batey's daughter. "It will ensure these six officers are never forgotten."
She said she hoped the memorial will help bring closure to the families, who lost their loved ones.
"I think he cared, and I think he gave 100 percent," Mrs. Carrens said of her father.
Peggy Archer, widow of Deputy Archer, said her husband was only 35-years-old when he was killed in the line of duty.
"When he accepted the job, he really loved it, and he worked really hard," she said. "There was no pretense about him, he was just Glen."
Also speaking was Pearl Key, widow of Deputy Key. "I think it's wonderful," she said. "The grandkids can come by and see his name. I'll probably come by and see it everytime I'm in Piggott. I feel like he's here."
Sheriff Batey and Deputy Archer were killed during a domestic incident on April 6, 1972, in McDougal. Deputy Key, who was injured during the incident, died of complications a few days later on April 15.
Joyl Greene, the oldest son of Marshal Greene, was 10-years-old when his grandfather died.
"He was a good man. He loved his family. He loved his job," Green said. "He was a hard man but a fair man. I wish he could have been around long enough, so that I could have known him better."
Marshal Greene was killed during an arrest situation on June 25, 1948, in Rector.
"He truly loved the county," said Beth Duvall, daughter of Sheriff Pond.
She said her father served as deputy county clerk at the Corning courthouse for 12 years prior to being elected as Clay County sheriff.
"He was proud and so honored that the people of Clay County trusted him enough to elect him sheriff," Mrs. Duvall said.
Sheriff Pond had only served six months of his first term when he was killed in a patrol car accident on June 8, 1973.
Since no descendants of Marshal Stanfield have been able to be located thus far, Anne Winchester spoke on his behalf.
She said Stanfield was a veteran of the Civil War, witnessing the battles of Chickmauga and Missionary Ridge and later moving to St. Francis, where he was elected town marshal. He was killed during an arrest situation on Jan. 5, 1914, two days after his 72nd birthday.
The memorials are the result of a project that began earlier in the year to honor the county's fallen officers. It was coordinated by Cole and Sgt. Danny Brown of the Arkansas State Police, who are both veteran Clay County law enforcement officers.