Members of Enid Police Department continued a decades-long tradition of honoring officers Friday by placing flowers at the graves of officers who served the city, some even before Enid was founded.
For at least the past 39 years, the Friday before each Memorial Day, flowers have been placed at gravesides in Enid Cemetery and Memorial Park Cemetery.
Chief Brian O’Rourke said no one knows when the tradition began, but it has been going on for “years and years. Members of the department continued that tradition Friday by placing white mums and an American flag at 41 graves.”
“It is a great time to honor all the people who came before us,” O’Rourke said. “We’re honoring those from when Enid was founded to the current day.”
The chief said he’s participated in the tradition since the early 1990s.
“It’s a special group,” he said of the officers being honored. “It’s always good to remember those who came before us. It’s good the administrators do this, and it’s a tradition that should carry on.”
In addition to O’Rourke, Capts. Gary Fuxa, Tim Jacobi, Scott Miller, Jack Morris and Bryan Skaggs, Lt. Randy King, Sgt. Dustin Albright and department maintenance technician Joey Breeze spent the morning visiting the graves of former officers.
Morris, Albright and Breeze visited Enid Cemetery, placing flowers and flags at 15 graves, including one of the three officers who lost his life in the line of duty — Thomas Radford.
Albright, who portrays Radford during the Chisholm Trail Coalition’s Tombstone Tales and tells the marshal’s story, said it was important for him to take the time to carry on the tradition to honor past officers.
“I do just enjoy taking the time to honor those former police officers because I know the types of situations they have been through,” he said. “We not only do this for the former police officers but their families, because we know their families sacrificed as much as we do while that person was serving the community.”
At Memorial Park Cemetery, Jacobi was taking part in the tradition for the first time.
The captain said he knew some of the men whose graves they visited that morning.
“It makes me proud that our police department makes the effort to do this,” Jacobi said.
Fuxa said he’s been part of the tradition for several years.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “Officers, especially the ones that have given their lives during the call of duty, it’s just an honor to memorialize their duties.”