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Criminal Justice Update

HONORING FALLEN OFFICERS: A solemn duty to remember

On May 5, five officers who died in the line of duty in 2021 will be honored at the Ohio Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony in London

Officer Brandon M. Stalker
Toledo Police Department | End of Watch: Jan. 18, 2021
The two things Officer Stalker loved best, his family and his job, were blossoming side by side. He talked often about his two young children, his fiancée and their upcoming wedding. And though only 24 and less than two years out of the academy, he had earned the respect of colleagues for his maturity and dedication. Life was good, and his constant smile and unfailing sense of humor said as much.
Officer Stalker was fatally shot at a SWAT scene when the suspect opened fire while trying to flee a house where he had barricaded himself.

Deputy Donald R. Gilreath III
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office | End of Watch: Feb. 12, 2021
Like peace officers everywhere, Deputy Gilreath didn’t have the luxury of retreating to the safety of his home during the COVID-19 pandemic. As much of society quarantined, the 15-year veteran continued his duties at the Hamilton County Justice Center, where he oversaw the control room and greeted everyone entering the building. The deputy’s playful nature and sense of humor are what immediately struck people when they met him, but his love of family is what truly defined him.
The married father of three died of complications from the virus, which he contracted on the job. He was 36.

Natural Resources Officer Jason S. Lagore
ODNR, Division of State Parks and Watercraft | End of Watch: Feb. 23, 2021
Officer Lagore was the driving force behind ODNR’s K-9 program during his 15-year career. He created the department’s first K-9 academy, led the Division of Parks and Watercraft K-9 training program, and was often asked by other agencies to lend his expertise to their search, rescue and recovery operations. He described his work as “a mission, a calling” — a way to help distraught families get answers more quickly.
The 36-year-old suffered a heart attack at Rocky Fork State Park as he and his K-9 partner were searching for the body of a teenage girl trapped under the ice. Officer Lagore was married and the father of two young boys.

Officer Scott R. Dawley
Nelsonville Police Department | End of Watch: Aug. 3, 2021
Officer Dawley was well-known around his hometown for his selflessness, humor and sense of justice. The seven-year veteran of the police department — the second-most-senior officer — loved his job and was looking forward to being promoted to sergeant. “He was loved and respected by his fellow officers, as well as the entire community,” Police Chief Scott Fitch said.
Officer Dawley, 43, died in a three-vehicle crash while responding to a report of gunfire. Newly remarried just 15 weeks before his death, he left behind his wife and seven children.

Officer Shane H. Bartek
Cleveland Division of Police | End of Watch: Dec. 31, 2021
Officer Bartek was constantly extending himself during his short career. He spent time reading at a child care center. He loved the Shop with a Cop program at Christmastime. And his partners fondly remember how the 25-year-old helped — and later stayed in touch with — a suicidal Navy vet who had become addicted to drugs.
Officer Bartek, who was going out for the night on New Year’s Eve and was not in uniform, was shot and killed when a woman ambushed him from behind to steal his car. He had been on the force 28 months.