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Criminal Justice Update

Gone but never forgotten: Remembering 2020’s fallen officers


On May 6, the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2020 were honored at the Ohio Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony.  

Also memorialized were those killed in 2019: Colerain Township Officer Dale Woods, Clermont County Deputy Bill Brewer and Dayton Detective Jorge Del Rio, who were honored in On the Job’s Spring 2020 issue. To read more about them, visit


Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: Oct. 23, 2020


Cpl. McMillan was a mischievous, adventurous gentleman who embraced joy in his daily life and spread it to others. He was fond of bicycle riding, primitive camping, playing practical jokes and celebrating holidays — complete with so many outdoor Christmas lights, they could be seen for blocks.

The corporal brought a sense of ease and big heart to his 19 years at the sheriff ’s office, where he was recognized four times with commendations for performing heroic efforts, saving lives and arresting criminals.

“Being a deputy sheriff did not define Adam,” said Cpl. Jason Hovekamp, a good friend. “But his undeniable character and qualities led to him being a decorated and celebrated deputy sheriff.”


Cpl. McMillan, 42, died after a chain-reaction crash in which his patrol car hit a bus.


Cleveland Division of Police
End of Watch: Sept. 3, 2020


Detective “Skern” Skernivitz didn’t seek recognition during his 22-year career, but he repeatedly earned it. A veteran member of the Gang Impact Unit, he was recognized dozens of times with commendations and service medals for taking violent criminals off the streets.

“What he did out there was to try to lift an entire city to a higher, more noble life,” Chief Calvin Williams said.

The detective rarely took a day — or night — off work. But when he did, he enjoyed attending concerts, playing softball, watching sporting events, traveling and just being Dad — “no frills, no fanfare, just Dad,” according to his wife and three grown children, who also called him “a master prescriber of nicknames.”


While in plain clothes, Detective Skernivitz, 53, and an informant were fatally shot by robbers.


Toledo Police Department
End of Watch: July 4, 2020


“Anthony was the example of a fine officer. He never had anything negative to say about anyone or anything,” Lt. Joe Trudeau said. “If I could have 50 Dias, I would take them all, knowing everything would be done right and we would be a happy shift.”

Officer Dia died just short of serving two years with the Toledo Police and previously spent two years with the Mercy Health System Police. He dedicated himself to protecting his city; following Islam; and loving his wife, two young sons and the rest of his large, extended family.

He was a fan of the L.A. Rams, loved pitbulls and enjoyed coaching Brazilian jiujitsu.


Officer Dia, 26, was killed when an intoxicated man he tried to help shot him in a parking lot.


Springdale Police Department
End of Watch: March 21, 2020

Officer Kaia LaFay Grant

Officer Grant was as natural a police officer as she was an athlete. She handled domestic situations, got victims, especially children, to open up, and mediated disputes with ease. She spoke three languages and knew a martial art.

“In eight years, I never once saw her lose her temper,” said Officer Michael DiStefano, a friend. “Calm breeds calm in our world — it’s just that sense she put out there when she showed up at a scene.”

The officer also was a goal-setter: She planned to get her master’s degree, go into politics, open a gym, become a great photographer and a better mountain biker, and never stop spoiling her beloved dog.


Officer Grant, 33, died after being run down by a driver whom police were chasing.