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Police honor fallen comrades

May 16, 1998

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Police officers had one of their own close to mind Friday as they attended the local National Police Week memorial service recognizing fallen comrades.

Lt. Gary Spielman and retired Sgt. Benny Ryland laid a wreath in front of the brick memorial at Hagerstown City Police headquarters in memory of all police officers who have died on duty.

"We were reminded recently that even in the simple task of directing traffic, there is danger," said Hagerstown City Police chaplain Stephen Robison as he led a prayer.

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Veteran Halfway Fire Company fire police officer Joseph Kroboth Jr., was killed May 2 along Interstate 81 at a wreck scene.

Hagerstown Police Chief Dale Jones also cited the element of danger, noting that 1997 was a particularly bad year for police officer deaths nationwide.

"We hear that crime is going down but the number of officers being killed is going up," Jones said.

In 1997, a total of 160 officers died in the line of duty in the U.S., he said. That compares with 116 the previous year, a 12 percent increase.

About 20 officers from city, county, state and natural resources police boarded a bus Friday to travel to Washington, D.C., for the national memorial service for those 160 officers.

A number of activities are happening today as police week draws to a close in Washington County.

The Maryland State Police and Hagerstown City Police will be on hand at Valley Mall today from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be patrol vehicles on display, a scuba team display, handouts for children and adults, videotapes and K-9 demonstrations.

The state police helicopter also will be on hand today from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the parking lot near Toys R Us.

The MSP Explorer Post youth also will be available to talk about their program.

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