A memorial honoring law enforcement officers who died on duty was unveiled Oct. 16 during a ceremony on the grounds of the East Feliciana Parish Courthouse in Clinton.
Dozens of members of law enforcement, public officials, community members and the families of deceased officers attended the ceremony.
U.S. Marshal Henry Whitehorn was the keynote speaker. The ceremony was led by East Feliciana Law Enforcement Memorial board members Tammy Garig and Richard Sobers.
The fallen officers memorial ceremony was in honor of Deputy Olan Lavon Seal, Deputy Allen Lawrence Heirtlizer, Sgt. Nolan Williams Sr. and Deputy Richard James “Ricky” Stiles, who died in 1983,1998, 2000 and 2009, respectively.
Seal began his law enforcement career in 1976, working as a parish deputy. In 1980, he began working as a deputy for the town of Jackson. On Aug. 3, 1983, while on duty, Seal suffered a massive heart attack. He left behind a wife and two sons.
Heirtlizer began his law enforcement career in 1997, working as a parish sheriff’s deputy. During his response to a fire call, Heirtlizer’s patrol unit struck a cow attempting to cross the road. His unit left the roadway and struck a utility pole, causing it to burst into flames, Garig said.
Efforts by other deputies to free him from the blazing unit failed. He left behind his parents and a sister.
Williamson served under the administration of former Sheriff Randy Maglone. Williamson and another deputy responded to what was reported to be a two-vehicle accident. Upon arriving on scene, Williamson was shot in the neck.
The other deputy returned fire on the suspect, wounding him. Wiliamson was transported to a local hospital, where he died approximately one week later. Officials said a later investigation found that the crash Williamson responded to involved a man who had been stalking his ex-wife and he had rammed her vehicle. Williamson left behind a wife, his children and grandchildren.
Stiles served under the administration of East Feliciana Parish Sheriff Talmadge Bunch. While on patrol in 2009, the driver of a pick-up, to avoid hitting a car that was attempting to make an illegal turn, swerved into Stiles’ lane, striking his unit. Stiles was transported to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. He left behind his parents, one daughter, one son and two sisters.
The police officers were remembered as part of the memorial officials started working on in 2013, when it came to light that the only memorial honoring East Feliciana Parish law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty was a canvas painting that hung on the walls of the East Feliciana Parish Prison.
It was then that a committee was formed by Sobers, a retired Baton Rouge police officer.
Other East Feliciana Law Enforcement Memorial Board members, including Sobers, are Garig, District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla and Richard Martin Sr.
During the ceremony, the board members fought back tears as they talked about the officers.
“I trust you will take with you a whole new perspective about law enforcement and the men and women who serve this community 365 days a year, 7 days a week,” Sobers said.
Whitehorn said it was an honor for him to be at the memorial dedication. He has worked in law enforcement for more than 40 years.
“There is no greater burden nor greater honor than to bear the loss of a friend, a colleague or a loved one, in the line of duty,” Whitehhorn said. “Today we gather at the courthouse square dedicating this memorial site. This permanent structure will perpetuate the memory of these individuals,” he said.