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State Sen. Jim Tomes Urges Memorials for Fallen Officers

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 19, 2013) – Resolutions authored by State Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville) to honor fallen Indiana police officers passed the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Transportation and Veterans Affairs today with unanimous support.

Senate Concurrent Resolutions 10, 11 and 12, which all passed 9-0, would urge the Indiana Department of Transportation to rename sections of I-69 for Officer Michael E. Deno, Trooper William J. "Joe" Trees and Sgt. John E. Hatfull, respectively. These Hoosiers all lost their lives in the line of duty.

“It’s important that we do this, to preserve the memory of these individuals and the sacrifices they made pursuing the cause of public service,” Tomes said. “These memorials are small ways we can honor the lives they led and the full measures they gave for Indiana.”

Officer Deno, a member of the Oakland City Fire Department, Sommerville Gun Club and a 1999 graduate of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, was active as a member of the Oakland City community. He was killed by a gunshot wound during a traffic stop on Feb. 28, 2000. Deno was only 24 years old.

Trooper Trees, a Navy Vietnam War Veteran and Indiana State Police Officer, was assigned to the Evansville Post. He helped establish a community teen center in Oakland City, coached little league baseball there and was a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church. On June 26, 1972, Trees was killed in an accident while in pursuit of a traffic violator.

Sgt. John Hatfull – an England native – joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1961 and served for four years. He was an active state officer for 14 years, and was killed on April 17, 1987, while leading an Emergency Response Team in Posey County.

“I want to thank Senators Lindel Hume, John Waterman and Lonnie Randolph for co-authoring these important resolutions with me,” Tomes said. “But most of all, we all owe thanks to the families, friends and communities who raised, supported and loved these public servants of Indiana.”

SCRs 10, 11 and 12 would designate the I-69 southbound bridge over the Potoka River at mile marker 38.63 for Deno, the northbound bridge at mile marker 37.81 for Trees and the Interstate-64 bridge over the Big Bayou River for Hatfull.