State police honor officer who was killed in 1950

May 16, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM


Albert E. Ridge, 81, of Leitersburg, visits his cousin's grave site while biking, sometimes as often as twice each week.

He usually is alone at the small plot in Harbaugh Church Cemetery in Washington Township, just across the Maryland state line into Pennsylvania.

On Monday afternoon, he was there with his wife and about 20 active and retired Maryland State Police troopers from the Hagerstown barrack, where Ridge's cousin, Trooper 1st Class Lauren Ridge worked.

Lauren Ridge was killed in the line of duty in 1950.

Ridge was attempting to disarm a man with a rifle on Northern Avenue in Hagerstown on July 14, 1950. Ridge took the rifle, but the man also had a concealed handgun he used to shoot and kill Ridge, who died when he arrived at Washington County Hospital.


Ridge, who was 28 years old, was the first and only trooper from the Hagerstown barrack to be killed in the line of duty, Trooper 1st Class R. Plante said.

Plante, president of the Maryland Troopers Association Lodge No. 88 in Hagerstown, said lodge members wanted to do something special for Peace Officers' Memorial Day, which was Monday. They decided to honor Ridge with a brief memorial service at his grave site.

Troopers placed a wreath at Ridge's grave, along with a framed photo of him that will hang on a wall at the Hagerstown barrack, Plante said.

Ridge, a World War II veteran, joined the Maryland State Police in Hagerstown on May 1, 1946.

Plante said Monday's memorial was not the first service for Ridge, but it was the most formal.

"It was just the right thing to do," he said.

Wreaths will be placed informally at the graves of two Maryland State Police troopers who were Washington County residents but worked in other counties, Plante said. Like Ridge, Trooper Larry Small and Cpl. Gregory May died in the line of duty.

Plante said the troopers association will continue to honor fallen troopers annually.

"We want to let everyone know that (Ridge) died in dedication to state and community," he said.

The Rev. Allan Weatherholt, chaplin of the Hagerstown barrack, spoke during the service.

"It was an honor for me to be part of the ceremony," he said. "He died in service to his community, and we can't let him be forgotten."

Albert Ridge's wife, Mae Ridge, said it was nice that nearly 56 years after the trooper's death, he was remembered.

"I think it's great," Albert Ridge said. "I wasn't expecting anything like this."

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