Law Enforcement memorial unveiled

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 6, 2003

WINTON – September 16, 2003 – a mere 48 hours before Mother Nature unleashed her fury on northeastern North Carolina – was a peaceful, late summer day, a perfect time to show respect and to honor a fallen hero in Hertford County.

Hundreds gathered on this warm, but pleasant, day for the unveiling of the Hertford County Law Enforcement Memorial. Luckily, only one name is inscribed on that granite marker that guards the front entrance of the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office in Winton. However, for local law enforcement officers, it is one name too many.

In a touching ceremony, complete with a full honor guard, the American and North Carolina flags were lowered to half-mast as the life of Hertford County Deputy Paul Futrell was fondly remembered. Ironically, Sept. 16, 2003 marked the 11th anniversary of Deputy Futrell’s murder as he was tragically gunned down while answering a call near Cofield.

&uot;This is a sad occasion, but yet it’s one where we hope this is the only name we’ll ever have to place on this memorial,&uot; said Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan.

Sheriff Vaughan went on to offer praise to the Hertford County Peace Officers Club (HCPOC) for their efforts to raise the necessary funds for the memorial. Those efforts included a golf tournament plus donations from the public and private sector.

&uot;Mike Patterson (HCPOC president and a Sergeant with the Murfreesboro Police Dept.) did a marvelous job in leading the way in this fund raising effort,&uot; noted the Sheriff. &uot;The HCPOC and all who helped with this memorial are to be commended for their efforts.&uot;

In his keynote address, Chief District Court Judge Alfred Kwasikpui centered his remarks around the theme of, ‘somebody has to do it.&uot;

&uot;Deputy Paul Futrell felt that somebody had to do it when he accepted the call to become a law enforcement officer,&uot; stated Judge Kwasikpui. &uot;That’s the calling of all law enforcement officers and we, the citizens of our respective counties, should count our blessings that we have dedicated peace officers out protecting our lives and our property.&uot;

The Judge continued, &uot;I think often of the jobs you do; the long hours you spend away from your families. I also think of the many hours of specialized training you are now required to take – search and seizure laws, domestic violence training, disaster relief, DWI training, etc.&uot;

He added, &uot;While we’re in our beds at night, you are out on the roads making sure we are safe. Then there are times, such as Sept. 16, 1992, when the ultimate sacrifice is made in order to ensure our safety.&uot;

Judge Kwasikpui concluded his remarks by quoting from Matthew, the 5th chapter, 9th verse – &uot;Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.&uot;

With assistance from the Futrell family, the memorial was then officially unveiled. Etched in the stone were the words from John, chapter 15, verse 13: &uot;Greater love hath no man for this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.&uot;

&uot;This day, this memorial helps to give meaning to the sacrifice Paul made,&uot; said Elton Futrell of Durham, the younger brother of the slain deputy. &uot;It also shows the great sense of appreciation that the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office and the HCPOC has for my brother.&uot;

Futrell continued, &uot;Through this monument, my brother will never be forgotten. His sacrifice will serve as a monument for others in law enforcement here in Hertford County and all over the state.&uot;

Deputy Futrell’s sacrifice will not only be remembered through the granite monument. Recently, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution that calls for the United States flag to fly at half-mast each Sept. 16 in honor of those peace officers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Serving as the Honor Guard during the solemn ceremony were Lt. Larry Newsome and Officer David Griffith of the Murfreesboro Police Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Tony Cameron and Captain Tim Lassiter, Lt. Mike Stephenson and Deputy Will Liverman of the Hertford Co. Sheriff’s Office.

Highway Patrol Trooper M.J. Raines and Hertford County Magistrate Doug Brinkley served as the buglers.

The flags used during the ceremony were donated by Woodmen of the World.

Following the unveiling, the Hertford County Office of Probation Parole hosted a reception at the Sheriff’s Office complex.