Dennis Lippe, Karen Lippe, Oklahoma City Police Department, FOP Auxiliary, FOP, National Peace Officers Memorial Service, Oklahoma State Law Enforcement Memorial, Chickasaw Lighthorse Captain Chin-Chi-Kee, Cherokee Lighthorse Lieutenant John M. Brown, Oklahoma State FOP,

All LET readers are familiar with the National Police Memorial in Washington, DC, the hub of police remembrance nationwide and the center for Police Week ceremonies.  Readers outside of Oklahoma may not be aware of the police memorial in that state.  Dennis Lippe got in touch with LET to make sure that Oklahoma’s State Law Enforcement Memorial is recognized.

Dennis retired as a Patrol Sergeant in 1996 from the Oklahoma City Police Department.  He and Karen, his wife of 46 years, have been active in the Fraternal Order of Police for many years.  Karen has served in every office at the local and state FOP Auxiliary level.  She was National Peace Officer Memorial Service co-chair for two years, starting a month before the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.

Dennis and Karen were involved with the National Peace Officers Memorial Service for 20 years. They have volunteered with the State Memorial for 27 years.  Dennis has served as Chairman of the state’s Memorial organization since it was formed in July 1995.

Since1990, Dennis has been researching information about the fallen officers which had been engraved on the state memorial prior to 1986. He actively continues researching information about Oklahoma’s fallen LEO’s. Their love and dedication to our fallen officers and their families has only grown stronger over these last 27 years.

The idea of a memorial to honor all of Oklahoma’s LEOs who died in the line of duty came about in 1965 after the State Legislature authorized a permanent headquarters for the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) to be located at Martin Luther King Avenue in Oklahoma City. The Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Sheriff and Peace Officers Association and the Oklahoma State FOP Lodge endorsed the idea and agreed to share the cost of construction and maintenance of the memorial. The memorial was dedicated on May 15, 1969.

Oklahoma had the very first state law enforcement memorial built in the United States and has built an impressive permanent tribute to honor the bravery, the dedication, and the sacrifices of fallen LEOs. Since its dedication, 5 more granite tablets have been added outside of the central plaza of the memorial to accommodate the additional 30 fallen officers’ names that have been added to the memorial through May 2010. The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial not only honors the sacrifices of state, county, municipal, and tribal officers. but federal officers as well. In fact the names of almost half of all Deputy U.S. Marshals killed in the line of duty in the United States are engraved on the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial.

The memorial organization continues to research Oklahoma’s law enforcement line-of-duty deaths. For example, he name of Chickasaw Lighthorse Captain Chin-Chi-Kee, who died in early January of 1852, was added to the memorial in May of 1993.  In May of 2002, the name of Cherokee Lighthorse Lieutenant John M. Brown, who was killed December 28, 1845, was added to the memorial.  At this point, his is the earliest known line-of-duty death in Oklahoma.  So-called “Lighthorse” Police Departments are particular to tribal land of the Native American nations.

The organization is currently looking for land, preferably 5 to 10 acres, to build a new memorial. The current memorial, built on state property, has drainage problems and structural damage that would be very expensive to correct.  There no public parking near the memorial and no protection from the weather during services held at the memorial. In addition to a new memorial, plans include building a Resource Center and an Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial Museum. The Resource Center would have all of the permanent files for Oklahoma’s fallen LEOs.  Citizens will be able to read about the officers and know them as more than a name engraved on a memorial. Their service and sacrifices will not be forgotten.

To have your state’s memorial covered in Law Enforcement Today, contact [email protected].

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