The last sacrifice: Bremen, state police have services for fallen officers
BREMEN — Over 80 people gathered outside the Bremen Police Department on Tuesday, April 14, paying their respects to a pair of town officers, one slain in the line of duty and another killed in a traffic crash.
“Members of the Bremen Police Department play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of Bremen citizens,” Police Chief Matt Hassel said, reading from a prepared statement. “They serve the people by safeguarding life and property, protecting them against violence and disorder. They protect the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression.”
Officer Tony Swartzlander, uncle of current Bremen Assistant Chief Steve Pittman, was killed in the line of duty on Feb. 22, 1981, after he was struck by a vehicle driven by a pair of fleeing armed robbers.
Officer Chad Beeson was an active officer, but off-duty, when he was killed when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by another vehicle while returning to Bremen from a football game in October 2003. Casey Miller of Bremen and Carey Jones of Rochester, who were riding in the same vehicle as Beeson, were also killed in the crash.
In 2011, the Bremen Police Department formally dedicated a memorial stone outside of its headquarters, engraving both Swartzlander’s and Beeson’s names on the marker.
Tuesday’s service was part of National Police Week, which was May 12-18. It’s a week designated by the federal, state and local government to honor those currently serving, as well as those who have served, in the past.
Bremen Town Council recognized the town’s police force at the council’s meeting on Monday, May 11.
“The men and women of the law enforcement agency of the town of Bremen unceasingly provide a vital public service …,” Council President Rick Graverson said.
The council gave Hassel a certificate of honor to show the town’s appreciation for the police department.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized for our commitment and service to the community and for their support of National Police Week and Police Officer Memorial Day,” Hassel said following the council meeting.
Also during Tuesday’s event, Bremen Officer Keith Fraine was awarded a meritorious commendation for his actions in the arrest of Chase Anglemyer, 21, Wakarusa, on Jan. 30.
Prosecutors charged Anglemyer with several felonies for allegedly attacking his 20-year-old ex-girlfriend inside a Bremen residence. Hassel said Fraine’s commendation recognizes his work in arresting Anglemyer and minimizing harm to the woman.
The Bremen police weren’t the only law enforcement agency to mark the week. During a service on Wednesday The Indiana State Police at the Bremen Post read the names of those troopers and support staff killed in the line of duty.
“It has been said that the strength of the Indiana State Police department lies in the character of its officers,” said Capt. Andy Coffee, reading from a prepared statement. “You and I will long remember the the deeds of our deceased, who were ever mindful of their public trust.
“They have set the pattern we must follow in the days and years to come.”
Ind. State Rep. Tim Harman, R-Bremen, was among the dignitaries who attended the ISP memorial service.
He said he was moved by the roll call of fallen state officers, including motor carrier officers and support staff, read during the event.
“It was a somber reminder of the danger police officers face along with their sacrifice in order to protect the general public,” Harman said. “Our respect, admiration, and gratitude goes out to the Indiana State Police and to all police officers who risk their lives for us each day.”