Wife of fallen LMPD officer says community's support has been 'b - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Wife of fallen LMPD officer says community's support has been 'beautiful'

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Jessica Schweitzer Jessica Schweitzer
Det. Jason Schweitzer Det. Jason Schweitzer

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) – The Fraternal Order of Police honored its members that passed away in 2016 at the 40th annual memorial ceremony at the Kentucky History Center on Monday afternoon.

“They were among the best,” said Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr., the Kentucky State FOP Lodge president. “Each and every one of these heroes accepted their calling, and this alone sets them apart from all others.”

LMPD Det. Jason Schweitzer was among the officers memorialized Monday. He died in November 2016 while in Lexington at a FOP conference. He and a University of Kentucky employee were hit and killed by an accused drunk driver.

Schweitzer’s family walked together down the aisle to place a carnation at a wreath in his honor. His wife said the memorial service was something he came to every year.

“This was something he enjoyed coming to every year as part of the FOP,” Jessica Schweitzer said. “So it was just bittersweet to be here in honor of him. To be here, instead of him."

 “When he passed away, he was doing something he very much enjoyed, being there to support the FOP.”

Jessica Schweitzer said it was “beautiful” to have him remembered Monday, and she found some comfort surrounded by other families experiencing similar grief.

“Until something like this happens to you, you don’t realize how many other people are going through it," she said. "It’s a nice support system to have those other families here, too.”

She wanted the community to know that serving the city of Louisville was very important to her late husband.

“It was a very important job for him,” she said. “He enjoyed it, going out the door every day ... It was something he enjoyed doing.”

She said it’s that same community now providing her with love and support as her family tries to heal.

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “We just live in a community with lots and lots of beautiful people. And everything they’ve done for us is just amazing.”

When Det. Schweitzer passed away, the couple had one young daughter and was expecting a baby boy. Jessica has since given birth to a healthy son. She said learning to be strong for her children is tough, but she is thankful for them every day.

“My kids are the reason that I get up every morning,” she said. “And I know Jason would want me to keep going and be happy. It’s just really bittersweet with the birth of my son. It’s difficult sometimes, but it’s also a very beautiful thing. Every day they both remind me of him so much. I just know that they’re what’s keeping me going.”

In Kentucky, 55 FOP officers died last year. Of those, 29 were from Jefferson County and surrounding areas.

LMPD Officer Nick Rodman, who died in the line of duty in April, will be honored at next year’s ceremony.

The ceremony included the traditions of lighting the memorial candle, posting the wreath, presenting the colors, and singing the National Anthem. After multiple guest speakers gave remarks, a roll call was taken. An officer escorted a family member or representative down the aisle to present a white carnation at the wreath. A red carnation was also present to honor all non-FOP officers that died last year.

“They put on their badges, utility belts, their uniforms ... knowing that they could lose their lives in the line of duty on any given day,” said Sen. Ralph Alvarado, the keynote speaker. “It’s also a commemoration for those who have lost loved one, families who have lost those individuals.”

Following the ceremony inside, a procession then brought the wreath to the memorial at the Old Capital, where Heather French Henry sang “My Old Kentucky Home,” and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Rifle Team made the Final Salute.

Here are each of the fallen officers remembered Monday:

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Lodge 25

- Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

  • Jerry Burch
  • Joseph Green, Jr.
  • Gilbert Hehemann
  • Tony King
  • Paul Schultz
  • Frank Wimberly

St. Matthew’s Lodge 31

- St. Matthew’s Police Dept.

  • Bradley Jeffrey
  • Bob Moster
  • Robert Rutledge

Metropolitan Lodge 32

- St. Regis Park Police Dept.

  • William Holton

Metro Corrections Lodge 77

- Louisville Metro Dept. of Corrections

  • Donald L. Benner

River City Lodge 614

-Jefferson County Police Department

  • Ernest R. Alcorn
  • Jack L. Coan
  • Charles Larry Johnson
  • Richard Koch
  • Donald A. Pendleton
  • Danny Leroy Plyler
  • Hoyt D. Scott
  • Larry E. Stewart
  • William Anthony Vaughn

Louisville Police Department

  • Clifton E. Baird
  • William J. Bedo
  • John Lamar Byrd
  • Ronald Edward Clarkson
  • John C. Elliott Sr.
  • Gertrude M. Fischer
  • Billy M. Riddle

Louisville Metro Police Department

  • Jason C. Schweitzer

Mt. Washington Police Department

  • Gene Martin Shepherd

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IMAGES | Hundreds attend funeral for LMPD Det. Jason Schweitzer

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