Harrisburg, PA – Friends, families, and community members joined hundreds of current and retired troopers from across the commonwealth at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey on Wednesday to honor the 98 members of the department who have died in the line of duty since 1905. Special attention was devoted to Trooper Michael P. Stewart III, who lost his life as the result of a two-vehicle crash while on patrol in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland County, in the early morning hours of July 14, 2017. Trooper Stewart was 26 years old.
“Frances and I join all Pennsylvanians in remembering Trooper Stewart and all of the brave men who died in service of Pennsylvania, and also each of the families devastated by their loss,” said Governor Wolf. “For more than 100 years, the Pennsylvania State Police has been viewed by other states and countries as a model law enforcement agency, largely because of the brave men and women who comprise its ranks.”
“Like the 97 members of the department before him, Trooper Stewart made the ultimate sacrifice in service of the commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick, acting commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “Today’s event is our way to honor each of them and show that they will forever be a part of the Pennsylvania State Police.”
The solemn remembrance took place on the 113th anniversary of the department. The Pennsylvania State Police was established on May 2, 1905, by Governor Samuel Pennypacker, becoming the first uniformed police agency of its kind in the United States. To mark the occasion, Governor Tom Wolf proclaimed May 2 as Pennsylvania State Police Day.
The ceremony included a moment of silence, rifle salute, helicopter flyover, and the reading of the names of each member who died in the line of duty, beginning with Private John F. Henry. Private Henry was shot and killed on September 2, 1906, while attempting to apprehend a fugitive in Jefferson County. His sacrifice is honored at the academy as part of the memorial wall and searchable computer kiosk, which contains the names, photos, and stories of each of the 98 members who died in the line of duty. An online version of the memorial wall is available at www.psp.pa.gov.