Century of Honor:Excellence and Valor in Washington State Law Enforcement
Century of Honor:Excellence and Valor in Washington State Law Enforcement
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Century of Honor - Excellence and Valor in Washington State Law Enforcement is a tribute to the men and women who have excelled and gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Nearly 16,000 men and women have lost their lives in the line of duty in American Law Enforcement. Two hundred and fifty six of those men and women have been in the state of Washington. Century of Honor - Excellence and Valor in Washington State will not only honor the men and women who have made that sacrifice, but also those who have excelled in courage, valor, dedication and service.

Law enforcement is not just the men and women on the streets of America. It is the men

and women on the telephones taking emergency calls. It is the men and women on the radios giving the calls and keeping the officers safe. It is the men and women of the investigative and identification divisions, and it is the men and women of the support divisions and corrections. Without each person doing their job, and doing it correctly, the foundation for the criminal justice system that protects the innocent and punishes the guilty would not be able to function properly. As we begin a new century, we are hoping to close the last with a complete accounting of our law enforcement history.

The chapters in the book include the history of national and state law enforcement, Washington State Medal of Honor recipients, National Award Winners, Telecommunicators of the Year, Law Enforcement Leaders of the New Millennium, Distinguished Reserve Police Officers and Ultimate Sacrifice: Line of Duty Deaths. There are over 400 pictures and images to help tell the story. It is destined to become a family heirloom for all those featured in the book their families and friends, and a resource for all of law enforcement and interested citizens.

The Washington Highway Patrol was established June 8, 1921, with six patrolmen who were issued a badge, a gun, and a motorcycle. The patrol took over enforcement of weight laws. The first arrest for speeding occurred in August the same year. The speed limit at the time was 35 m.p.h. The first siren was used on a highway patrol motorcycle in 1922. The first annual meeting, held in 1925, had twenty-eight patrol officers, and by 1926 there were forty-two. The patrol at this time was using the Harley Davidson as the motorcycle of choice. During this period, the first in-service training took place, and patrol cars began to be used by the highway patrol. The first Model A Ford was used by the highway patrol in 1928.

Thurston County had the first K9 in the state. In 1929 we first start reading about the discussions of using protective clothing for law enforcement officers. Tacoma had its own radio system for the cars, and the first airplane law enforcement came into use.

Over the past 100 years, the officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice have come from all areas of law enforcement. The statistical numbers show that 2 percent come from agencies of the United States Territories, 5 percent come from federal agencies, 15 percent come from state agencies, 18 percent come from county agencies, and 60 percent come from municipal departments.

As we enter the new millennium we can only aspire to continue to see an increase in the professionalism, training, and equipment for law enforcement officers and a reduction in the line-of-duty related deaths.

  • The Seattle Police Department has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other agency or department in the state.
  • There are 256 verified line-of-duty deaths in Washington State.
  • Only one reserve officer is listed as killed in the line of duty.
  • Two women have been killed in the line of duty in Washington State.
  • The most lethal year in Washington State law enforcement was 1928 with 7 deaths.
  • The decade of the 1920's was the worst for line-of-duty deaths, with 47 officers dying in the line of duty, followed by the 1930's when 36 officers lost their lives. Nationally the decade of the 1970's was the worst.
  • Ten multi-casualty incidents have occurred. The first was in 1863; the last in 1978.
  • 153 officers have lost their lives due to firearms; that is 60.5 percent. This compares to the national average of 49 percent.
  • There are 56 officers who lost their lives due to vehicular involvement; this is 21.7 percent.

    • Motorcycle 17
    • Struck by Vehicle 9
    • Drunk driver 10
    • Pursuit 5

The average age of law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the past century was 38 years. The average length of service for those who died is eight years. The officer who had the most longevity on the job at the time of his death was Officer Thomas Knevet of Hartford, Connecticut, who died in 1919. He had worked in law enforcement for 44 years. Also, during the past century, 140 female officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. During the same period, 315 officers lost their lives because of drunk drivers, and 3,000 due to automobile related deaths.

Dawning of a New Century


Ranger Catherine Elizabeth Secor

Washington State Park Service

Date of Death: 05/ 09/00

Cause of Death: Vehicular Accident

Ranger Secor is the first officer in the state of Washington to die in the line of duty in this century.  She is also the first Park Ranger, and the second woman in our state to be listed as line of duty death. Ranger Secor was the highest ranking female in the Washington State Park service. Catherine Secor was stationed at and manager of Lincoln Rock State Park. She had nearly two decades of service as a ranger.  Ranger Secor and several other rangers were returning from training on the west side of the state. On the Ellensburg side of Blewett pass on Highway 97 the rangers were involved in a traffic accident. Catherine was the only fatality.


Those Who Came Before

Officer Ralph H. Ahner

Seattle Police Department

Date of Death: 09/13/1932

Cause of Death: Vehicular Accident - Motorcycle Pursuit

Washington State Medal of Honor

National Law Enforcement Memorial Panel 17, E 15


Officer Ralph Herbert Ahner joined the Seattle Police Department on the 14th of October, 1930. On Friday evening the 9th of September, 1932, Ahner was nearing the intersection of 4th Avenue South and South Horton Street on his police motorcycle. Mr. C. R. Marquardt had slowed his automobile to approximately two miles per hour and was signaling for a "U" turn when his vehicle was struck by Ahner's motorcycle. Investigators found 100 feet of skid marks made by the cycle. They also determined that Ahner had been in pursuit of a speeder just before the accident and had failed to see Marquardt's vehicle slow down prior to the accident. He died at Virginia Mason at 1:00 a.m., September 13.

Deputy Dennis E. Allred

Kitsap County Sheriff

Date of Death: 09/19/1978

Cause of Death: Gunshot

Washington State Medal of Honor

National Law Enforcement Memorial Panel 3, W 6

Rae Anna Victor graduated from Washington State University in Police Science and Administration, and has worked in law enforcement for the past three decades as a reserve officer, patrol officer, records officer, 911 emergency operator, and currently a Supervisor in dispatch-communications. Her first book was published in 1983. She is currently a member of the International Women's Writing Guild, Washington State Law Enforcement Association, Associated Public Communications Officers Association, International Association Chiefs of Police, Washington State Council of the Arts, Jonas Babcock Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, American Legion Auxiliary, and Daughters of the Washington Pioneers. She is an Adjunct Professor for the Community Colleges of Spokane. Through her efforts over 1000 citizens, mostly youth and law enforcement, have been recognized and honored for their efforts, and the many students she has worked with have received over half-million dollars in scholarships. Rae Anna is currently the Associate Editor of the Washington State Law Enforcement Journal and on the Board of Directors of the Spokane Law Enforcement Museum.


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