A memorial service Friday to remember law officers killed in action serves as a reminder there is no guarantee they will return safe when they leave for work each day, the mother of a probation and parole officer slain last year said.
“We just want people to remember that when you kiss him goodbye that morning, that could be it,” Genese McCoy said. “Never take for granted what our people in law enforcement do.”
She made the comments after the 45th annual memorial for law officers at the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial, on the west grounds of the Oklahoma Public Safety Department, 3600 Martin Luther King Ave.
The name of Jeffery McCoy, who was killed May 18, was added to a wall at the memorial. McCoy, 32, had gone to visit a client under pre-release supervision at a house in Midwest City. Another man, Lester Kinchion, answered the door; prosecutors said he knocked McCoy off the porch and then they fought in the street where McCoy was knocked unconscious. Kinchion took McCoy's service pistol and shot him in the head. Kinchion pleaded guilty in December to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without parole.
Lives on the line
“Every day the officers put their lives on the line,” said McCoy's wife of eight years, Megan, and the mother of their children, Alex, 8, and Allie, 5. “They work with the people that the rest of Oklahoma doesn't want to deal with. They work with the convicted felons, the people that we're scared of, the people we're angry at.
“Our law enforcement people work with those every day, especially our probation and parole. They go into a house never knowing what's in there,” she said. “They go in there basically blind sometimes. I think all of the Department of Corrections is forgotten about a lot, as far their safety and their funding to be safe.”
Other law officers killed in the line of duty in the past year who were rehonored were William Coen, a reserve Harper County deputy sheriff, who died in a one-vehicle accident June 10; Mayra Ramirez-Barreto, an agent with the Puerto Rico Justice Department; and Eliezer Colon-Claussells, a correctional officer with the Puerto Rico Corrections and Rehabilitation Department.
They were killed in a vehicle crash Jan. 10 near Stillwater while en route to a prison in Cushing to pick up several prisoners. They were southbound on U.S. 177 when another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction crossed the centerline and struck their van head-on.
“We mourn with those left behind,” said Stillwater Police Chief Norman McNickle, president of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police.