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Platte County is a full service sheriff’s
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patrol, search and rescue, disaster services,
civil processing, prisoner transport, community
service programs, records, and detention
center for the entire Platte County
The Platte County Sheriff’s Office exists to ensure public safety throughout our community. We make it our pledge to reduce the incidents and severity of crime wherever it is found. We Also pledge to serve the citizens of Platte County in a professional and responsible manner and respect the rights and dignity of all individuals.
Law Enforcement Memorial
ceremony honors fallen officer
You'll never be forgotten.
Each of the speakers at the 2010 Nebraska Law
Enforcement Memorial Day Ceremony touched on that theme
either directly or indirectly during Monday morning
ceremonies held inside Grand Island's Fire Station 1.
The service was dedicated to Platte County Deputy
Christopher Johnson, who died in August 2009 while
responding to the scene of a traffic accident.
Denice Wagner, wife of Nebraska State Trooper
Mark Wagner, who died in the line of duty on March 4,
1999, talked about the support she and her family has
received from law enforcement agencies all across the
state of Nebraska.
She said that support takes the meaning of "you'll
never be forgotten to a whole other level." Wagner
said law enforcement personnel have been there for
family weddings, graduations and hospital visits since
her husband's death.
Wagner said grief becomes a little easier to
bear when it can be shared with others. She said her
daughters, who have since gone on to earn college
degrees in the medical field, have talked with law
enforcement officers, which has given them opportunities
to share memories about their father.
Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy talked about the Nebraska
Law Enforcement Memorial itself, located south of Fire
Station 1 and just to the west of the new Nebraska State
Fair. He noted the memorial, which was dedicated in
2009, will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people
He said the memorial has the names of 131 law
enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty
since 1866. Sheehy said there is no greater sacrifice
than to give one's life in the service of others. He
said the memorial serves not only as a monument to those
law enforcement personnel who have died in the line of
service, but to all the law enforcement personnel who
carry on that tradition of service as they do their
Sheehy said law enforcement officers, as well as first
responders in fire departments, ambulance crews and
others, have been asked to do more since the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
He said the physical memorial and the annual
ceremony should also serve as a reminder of the
sacrifices made by family members of law enforcement
officers. Sheehy said those family members see their
loved ones go off to work each day and can never be sure
they will see them return.
Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale said last year's
dedication ceremony of the physical memorial was held on
a bright and shiny day when those who were present
"felt the hope of the future." Monday's dark
and rainy weather, which forced the ceremony indoors, is
a reminder of the sacrifice law enforcement officers
sometimes must make.
For law enforcement, Gale said, there are "days of
hope and days of sadness and loss."
Gale praised the new Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial
for its "wonderful sense of permanence." He
said people who visit Nebraska's memorial will
"know it is sacred ground." Gale said in his
role as Nebraska Secretary of State, he has had the
opportunity to visit many state and national memorials
He said he particularly loves the Nebraska Law
Enforcement Memorial because it has the names of
individuals who have given their lives protecting the
citizens of Nebraska. Gale said he finds memorials with
names to be among the most meaningful to him.
Gale expressed his appreciation for the bagpipers who
played to open Monday's ceremony. He said the music
reminded him of the Normandy invasion when bagpipe
players performed music to give troops courage for the
invasion they were about to undertake, when they knew
many among them would die during the coming battle.
Gale talked about the his lifetime of respect for those
in law enforcement. As a child, he always waved at law
enforcement officers. As an adult, Gale said, he still
waves to law enforcement officers to express his respect
Platte County Sheriff Jon Zavadil recounted Chris
Johnson's law enforcement career, including the various
law enforcement jobs he worked before joining the Platte
County Sheriff's Office. Johnson was the Platte County
Sheriff's Employee of the Year in 2006. Zavadil also
remembered the fallen officer as a person, noting
Johnson always seemed to have a smile on his face.
Just before he gave the final benediction, Lincoln
County/North Platte Chaplain Gary Smith quoted an
inscription from the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
He said the quote from survivor Vivian Eney Cross both
honors those who have died in the line of duty and
serves as a charge to those in law enforcement or
wanting to join the ranks of law enforcement.
Smith said the quote from Cross said, "It is not
how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how