A quest to remember, honor the fallen

Man gathers the histories of slain officers for online memorial, but many trails are cold

October 23, 2005|By ANNIE LINSKEY | ANNIE LINSKEY,SUN REPORTER

David H. Muhl, a sergeant with the Crofton Police Department, is hunting for information.

The 26-year veteran wants to know details about the lives of Maryland officers who died on the job for a memorial Web site he has created.

"The Web site gives each officer a place in history," Muhl said. "It lets people know who they were, how they died, how long they were with the department."

Muhl has been working to stock the Web site with information for about five years, but recently he feels as though he's hit a brick wall.

"We're missing information for probably over 75 percent of them," he said.

The Web site, mdfallenofficers. org, includes photographs and a brief biographical sketch of the 267 police officers - as many as Muhl knows about - who died in the line of duty.

The first recorded death was of George Workner of the Baltimore City police in March 1808. There is no photograph and very little information about what happened.

"The most recent ones we're going to have information on, but the earlier ones it is much harder," Muhl said.

The most recent death was that of Grant Francis Turner, a Maryland Transportation Authority Police cadet who died this year after completing a 5-kilometer run. The race was a memorial for Duke Aaron, a Transportation Authority Police officer who died after a car rammed his patrol car in July 2004.

The site is partially funded by the county's police union.

"A lot of times police officers feel like their contributions go unnoticed," said union President O'Brien Atkinson. "When a police officer is killed, it is important that they are not forgotten."

In his quest to complete the site, Muhl has searched libraries for old newspaper clippings and documents that might help him fill in the blanks.

"We've gone to the hall of records. ... It is very time-consuming, and in roughly four or five hours you're able to get [information about] one or two" officers, he said.

Muhl said he does not have a personal connection to any of the officers who have died in the state. He said the Crofton police force has never lost a member in the line of duty.

"I guess I've gone to too many officers' funerals. I thought it would be a better way of honoring them," he said.

Muhl added that any new information also would be helpful for a fallen officer memorial he is hoping will be built in Annapolis.

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

Fallen officers

Information about officers can be sent to Sgt. David H. Muhl.

E-mail:

dmuhl@cablespeed.com

Mail:

Maryland Fallen Police Officers Memorial Inc., P.O. Box 31, Glen Burnie 21060-0031

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