Topeka Honors The City's Two Fallen Officers At Statehouse


TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The many faces at the State Capitol Thursday night showed that the community hasn't forgotten those who have lost their lives for the state of Kansas.

Many came to pay their respects to all Kansas law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty at the 18th annual Law Enforcement Memorial.

It is held every year to recognize all law enforcement, but the ceremony hit closer to home for the Topeka community.

The ceremony was especially emotional for the families of Officer Jeff Atherly and Corporal David Gogian. Both were killed in the line of duty while responding to the same call almost five months ago, on December 16, 2012. They are the only two officers in the state who died in the line of duty in 2012.

Although the vigil brought back memories that are hard to deal with, it called to attention the honorable sacrifice the officers made.

"Dave and Jeff, as well as every officer that goes out there, they put their life on the line every time they put on their badge," President of the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary Sarah Jepson said. "They're heroes and they paid the ultimate sacrifice."

The Topeka Police Department hasn't gotten over losing two of their own. "We have to keep moving forward, but we're not going to just move on and forget about them," Chief of Police Ron Miller said. "We will keep them in our hearts, we will inscribe their names on the memorial and we will honor them every year."

The event was moved indoors to the second floor of the Capitol because of adverse weather conditions. It was originally scheduled to be a candlelight vigil on the Statehouse grounds.

Chaplain Tobias Schlingensiepen of the Topeka Police Department offered the opening prayer. Danni Stallbaumer, Stephen Evans and Lori Smith with the Fraternal Order of Police gave remarks.

Music group The Catz Trio sang two songs, and Bill Read, Piper of the Plains, played "Amazing Grace."


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