BUTTE – On Thursday, Butte law enforcement honored the 18 peace officers who died in the line of duty in more than a century of service to the community.
The donated memorial was placed next to Butte’s law enforcement headquarters on N. Alaska Street and as a reminder of the sacrifices these officers made.
“I obviously never knew any of the people who are carved here on this stone,” Butte Sheriff Ed Lester said during his emotional address. “But think it’s safe to assume every single one of them left their home and went to work here at Butte-Silver Bow with every expectation that they would be returning to home at the end of their tour, yet none of them ever returned to their loved ones again.”
Each name on the monument was read aloud.
“Policeman Bart J. McCarthy, Butte Police Department, end of watch Saturday, July 22nd, 1916. Police officer Joseph E. Sage,” said Butte Undersheriff George Skuletich.
Butte holds the record in Montana for most officers killed.
“You know, during the turn of the century and before, Butte was rough and tumble town and we had over 100,000 people, law enforce at that time was a hazardous profession, as you can see and we’ve been lucky so far in the last 80 years that we haven’t had any other fatalities,” said Butte Bailiff and former police officer Dan Hollis.
This memorial stands as a testament to Butte’s violent past where a father and a son who both choose to be police officers met the same fate 11 years apart.
“The father was out serving a warrant and he was killed in an accident while trying to serve that warrant. His son was shot and killed trying to apprehend an armed suspect,” said Hollis.
Butte Granite made and donated the stone monument and Jay Fortune Construction built the foundation for the memorial free of charge.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News