The Nebraska State Patrol says that a permanent memorial, designed to honor Nebraska Law Enforcement officers who have died or been killed in the line of duty, is nearing completion.
That memorial will include names of several officers from this area, including that of York Police Officer James M. Richardson, II.
Officer Richardson was shot and killed at about 10:35 p.m., on Friday, April 22, 1977, while responding to a disturbance call at 1520 Blackburn Ave. When Richardson arrived, he stepped out to assess the situation. He was shot near his parked patrol car and staggered about 25 feet before falling on the lawn of the Arbor Drive Baptist Church. A 17-year-old suspect was apprehended about an hour later near the York Middle School. Officer Richardson was 24 years old and single at the time of his death.
The memorial, according to Deb Collins, spokesperson for the NSP, said this week that the Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial will stand adjacent to the future Nebraska Fire and Rescue Memorial in Grand Island (near Fonner Park), and is scheduled for completion this May. A dedication of the memorial is planned to coincide with National Police Week (May 10-16) and National Peace Officer Memorial Day (May 15).
“We can’t imagine a better opportunity to recognize Nebraska law enforcement officers who’ve lost their lives than with the dedication of a memorial in their honor,” said Sarpy County Lt. Russ Zeeb, who is also president of the Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial Committee.
The memorial will contain the names of 130 officers in Nebraska who have died or been killed in the line of duty, dating back to 1866.
“It is the goal of the NLEMC to try and find as many family members or survivors of these brave officers as possible to participate in the memorial dedication,” Lt. Zeeb said. “We would encourage anyone with ties to these people to get in touch with us.”
Also included in the list of names on the memorial is that of Nebraska State Trooper Michael D. Farber, who was killed in Hamilton County. He was struck by a motor vehicle and killed at about 4:50 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 24, 1980, during an attempt to stop a suspect involved in a pursuit. Trooper Farber died about six miles east of Aurora on Interstate 80. A 15-year-old suspect had failed to pay for gas at the Pleasant Dale Interchange west of Lincoln, and another trooper stopped the suspect near the Utica exit. The individual tried to escape and the trooper gave chase. Farber took up a position along I-80 near the Hampton Interchange and waited for the pursuit to approach his location. As the suspect approached Farber’s position, he suddenly swerved into the eastbound lane still headed west. Farber had deployed his patrol car in the median and as the suspect approached, his car suddenly swerved off the interstate and into Farber and his unit. Farber was killed instantly. Trooper Farber was 24 years old and survived by his wife, Colleen. The couple was expecting their first child who, following his birth, was named after his father.
The memorial also honors the memory of Sergeant Ron Phillips, a Polk County Deputy Sheriff, who died on Monday, Jan. 26, 2004, from a heart attack suffered after attempting to dig out his patrol car during a snow storm. Having made his “on duty” call, Sergeant Phillips became stuck in the snow and attempted to free the vehicle himself. He eventually called a tow truck, whose driver discovered Phillips slumped over in the front seat. Emergency personnel were immediately dispatched, however he was later pronounced dead at Annie Jeffrey Memorial County Health Center in Osceola. Sergeant Phillips was 56 years old and was survived by his wife, Jennifer, and his two sons, Shannon and Matthew.
Family members of such officers are asked to contact the Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial Committee at NLME@nememorial.org or call 643-3606.