Memorial to fallen officers ceremony Friday

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Sheriff Shane Phelps and other officials will lead a ceremony Friday, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m. to mark the dedication of a monument that will be a memorial to the fallen law enforcement officers of Panola County.

The dedication will be at the site of the memorial in front of the county courthouse at Batesville. In recent weeks the area has been prepared for the memorial with fresh plants and flowers provided by Herron Landscape, concrete work by Rev. Odell Draper, and the monument by Panola County Crime Stoppers.

Phelps said the project was completed with no expenditure of county funds, with all materials and labor paid for with donations or performed at no charge.

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Four names will be on the monument. They are Town Marshall Lige Denman, Crowder Police Department, killed Wednesday, Sept. 13, 1939; Police Officer William Leo Parrish, Jr.,  Crenshaw Police Department, killed Saturday, April 1, 1989; Deputy Sheriff Joe Kenneth Cosby, Panola County, killed Friday, Sept. 30, 1988; and Constable Eula Ray “Raye” Hawkins, Panola County, killed Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.

The dedication of the memorial will coincide with the 34th anniversary of the death of Deputy Joe Cosby.

Retired Mississippi Supreme Court Justice George Carlson will deliver the keynote address, and a host of area law enforcement personnel, elected officials, and family and friends of the fallen officers are expected to attend.

The Shelby County (TN) Sheriff’s Office Pipes and Drums detail, an impressive bagpipe until dressed in traditional Scottish attire, are also scheduled to attend.

There have been 177 officers killed in the line of duty in the United States this year and 1,771 in the last five years. Line of duty deaths of all time in the country are 25,969, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page on the internet.

The back side of the monument will be inscribed with the Bible verse found in Matthew 5:9. It says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

Phelps said everyone is invited to attend the dedication ceremony.