The annual Bladen County Sheriff’s Office Peace Office Memorial Service has been scheduled for Friday, May 12 at 10 a.m. at 299 Smith Circle in Elizabethtown.
The service recognizes Bladen County’s six law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. They are Chief Roy Franklin Fores with the Bladenboro Police Department, Chief Marvin James Bell with the Elizabethtown Police Department, Police Officer Brian Joe Ramey with the Bladenboro Police Department, Deputy James Brian Collins of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Dwayne Charles Hester of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Department and Detention Officer James Smith of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office.
Seats will be reserved for fallen officers families.
The memorial is open to the public. If planning to attend, RSVP by May 8 by calling 910-862-6967.
In case of inclement weather the event will be held inside Foundation Church at 909 S. Popular St.
Flores suffered a fatal heart attack while struggling with a suspect. He had responded to a call involving two drunk men who were fighting. When he arrived on the scene, one of the men began to struggle with the chief. End of watch: September 3, 1967.
Bell was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance call. He was familiar with the suspect and had arrested him several times before. As he approached the man, the suspect drew a weapon and opened fire, mortally wounding Bell. Bell was able to return fire and kill the suspect. End of watch: September 30, 1972.
Ramey was killed when his patrol car was intentionally struck by a vehicle being chased by officers from another agency on N.C. Highway 211. End of watch: May 12, 2001.
Collins was killed when the patrol car he was riding in struck a tree during a pursuit. End of watch: September 26, 2001.
Hester was killed in a vehicle collision while responding to an assault in-progress call near Elizabethtown. He was traveling on NC Highway 87, near Allen Priest Road, when his car left the roadway on a curve and struck a tree. End of watch: June 8, 2012.
Smith suffered a massive stroke while supervising the inmate roadside cleanup crew on Peanut Plant Road. He was taken to an area hospital where he passed away a few days later. End of watch: January 6, 2019.
Also, North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Keith Conner, who was from Bladenboro, was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop of a speeding vehicle on U.S. 701 near Sellers Town Road in Columbus County at 12:15 a.m. The suspect opened fire on Conner as he was approaching the stopped vehicle, fatally wounding him. End of watch: October 17, 2018.