About three hundred people gathered today around the Peace Officers Memorial that’s near the statehouse to honor officers who’ve died in the line of duty. While a few Iowa law enforcement officials have been injured or shot while on the job this past year, none have died. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Kevin Techau took time to honor three who died long ago but were not recognized at the time for their heroics. Thomas Nicholson, Gowrie’s City Marshall, was shot to death on July 11, 1908 while trying to arrest someone who was drunk and disorderly. Clayton County deputy Frank Smith was shot to death August 9, 1924 by a man involved in a domestic disturbance near Dickens. Another Clayton County deputy, Louis Dayton, was killed March 20, 1929 while he was working undercover to track the then-illegal sale of liquor. Dayton was beaten to death in a alley in Spencer. His murderer was never found. Governor Vilsack paid tribute to the three men. Vilsack says it’s appropriate to include those who made the ultimate sacrifice 70 or 80 years ago in today’s ceremony. “They deserve it and their families deserve it,” Vilsack says. Today, Monday, May 23, 2005, has been declared Peace Officers Memorial Day. Techau hopes Iowans pause to thank officers who’re on the job today. “A time to recognize those (who) are currently serving and perform their duties 24/7 and maintain their vigilance in protecting the public,” Techau says.
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