Ohio chief justice to speak at police memorial ceremony

Law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty will be honored as the Fraternal Order of Police Quaker Lodge 88 will host its annual Peace Officers Memorial Service on Friday, May 16 at 10 a.m.

Guest speaker for this year’s event will be Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court, whom Kenny Biacco, a retired sergeant deputy with the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Department, says the lodge is very glad to host for the occasion. “It’s an honor to have her here to be our guest speaker,” he said.

O’Connor’s career in law spans three decades, beginning with her graduation from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University in 1980. She was appointed magistrate in Summit County five years later and became a county common pleas court judge in 1993.

O’Connor resigned from the bench in 1995 to become prosecuting attorney in Summit County, during which she won acclaim from victims’ rights groups, including awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

O’Connor was elected lieutenant governor in 1998, serving concurrently as director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, as chair of Ohio’s Security Task Force and on the State Building Security Review Committee.

She was elected to lead the Supreme Court of Ohio in 2010, taking office as the state’s first female chief justice the following year. O’Connor was first elected to the court as an associate justice in January 2003, giving the court its first female majority.

FOP Quaker Lodge 88 holds their memorial ceremony each year in recognition of National Police Week, with the annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service being held May 15 this year in Washington, D.C.

This year, the ceremony will be held at Das Dutch Village Inn in Columbiana. Lieutenant Don Beeson of the Salem Police Department will lead the service. Howard and Mary Kay Hartzell – parents of the late Youngstown Police Officer Michael Hartzell, who was killed in the line of duty in 2003 – will also be honored guests at the ceremony.

“We should never forget the police officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Biacco said. Those feelings of tribute should also be extended to firefighters and other emergency responders who put themselves in harm’s way and sometimes pay with their lives, he added. “They should always be remembered.”

Law enforcement officers and other first-responders, as well as the general public, are invited. For tickets or more information, contact Kenny Biacco at 330-532-2828 or Lt. Don Beeson at 330-853-8721.