Police Officers Memorial
A special Police Memorial Service is held each year in May to honor our fallen officers and a wreath is placed at the head of the monument by the Honor Guard. The Chief of Police and Honor Guard also visit the gravesites of each of the fallen officers to place a memorial wreath in honor of their fallen comrades.
City Police Memorial a ‘Labor of Respect’
The Brunswick News, May 19, 1995
By Lisa Schoolcraft, NewsStaff/Writer
Brunswick Police honored three of their fallen comrades this morning as they dedicated their new police memorial. Located just east of the Brunswick Police Department headquarters on Mansfield Street, the Memorial is the realization of a dream of many officers, said Brunswick Police Chief T.C. Cowan.
Paid for by the Brunswick Police Association, the memorial consists of a monument, four park benches and landscaping around the area. “It is a lasting memorial for those officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Cowan during the morning dedication ceremony. Association President, Lt. David Seawell said the memorial is the greatest fulfillment the association has achieved.
Project chairman, Lt. Artie Davis said the memorial was first proposed by former Police Chief Jimmy Carter in the 1980’s. The association raised the funds for the project and then found three Brunswick police officers had been killed in the line of duty since the 1900’s. Those officers are R.N. Deaver, H.D. Copeland, and Ray Christian. “Three is still too many,” Davis said. “It is our sincere hope that no new names are added.” Davis said the memorial project was not a labor of love, rather a labor of respect and honor for Deaver, Copeland, and Christian.
Officer Melvin E. Collins
April 11, 2003
Officer Collins, who had recently graduated from the police academy, was working an off-duty job when two subjects entered a local business with the intention of robbing it. Officer Collins, with little regard for his own safety, identified himself as a police officer and attempted to take control of the volatile situation in order to protect others. Even after being shot by one of the suspects, Officer Collins was able to return fire, wounding one of the suspects before apprehending him outside of the store. Officer Collins died as a result of his gunshot wound later that evening. The subject who shot Officer Collins was later captured after an extensive manhunt.
Corporal Ray Christian
May 15, 1986
Corporal Christian, a 12 year police veteran, was just coming on duty on April 15, 1986, and was northbound in the 2300 block of Glynn Avenue when a car struck him. Christian, assigned to the motorcycle detail, was thrown from the motorcycle and suffered massive head injuries. He died the next morning at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Savannah. Christian had been on his way to Brunswick High School to help with school traffic.
Officer Herbert D. Copeland
March 11, 1956
Officer Copeland was killed in the 500 block of Reynolds Street on March 11, 1956. A twenty-one year police veteran, Copeland was the senior officer answering a call of a man waving a shotgun and threatening to shoot bystanders. Copeland and his rookie riding partner arrived and Copeland got out to talk to the suspect, William Goldman, 28, who was waving a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun. Copeland appeared to have calmed Goldman down and returned to his vehicle, but then Goldman suddenly grabbed the shotgun back up and began firing into the back of the police car. Golden shot Copeland in the back of the head and caught the rookie officer in the shoulder. The rookie officer was able to return fire. Golden received 20 years in prison for the murder of Officer Copeland.
Officer R.N. Deaver
March 6, 1915
Officer Deaver was killed one Saturday morning after a gunman opened fire at what is now the Dunwoody building at Gloucester and Newcastle Streets. Monroe Phillips, 50, went on a rampage in downtown Brunswick, killing Deaver and four others and wounding thirty, before being killed himself by the city officer. Phillips, a sawmill owner and lumber businessman, had worked out a lumber deal that fell through. Upset and despondent over the failed deal, Phillips came to Brunswick to speak to local attorney and politician Harry F. Dunwoody. Phillips went to the upstairs office and shots rang out. Killed were: Dunwoody, George Asbell, L.C. Padgett, Hacket, Phillips and Deaver. Deaver was a young officer who had only been on the Brunswick police force for sixty days. Deaver arrived at the scene and crept up to Phillips and fired several shots at him. Phillips was able to get off a shotgun blast however which struck Deaver in the chest. Deaver died on the way to the hospital.
Officer Horace "Kid" E. Thompson
July 21, 1894
Officer Robert L. Massey
April 13, 1890
Officer Massey was shot on April 12, 1890, at 10:35 a.m. at City Hall and died the next day. Massey was in court when William O. Baldwin had been charged with disorderly conduct, found guilty, and fined two dollars and court costs, but refused to pay. Officer Massey stepped forward and laid a hand on Baldwin’s shoulder to arrest him. Baldwin drew a pistol from under his vest and fired, hitting Officer Massey in the left side. Baldwin then fired another shot that hit Massey in the center of his back. A struggle ensued between Baldwin and other officers. Marshal Houston was shot in the left shoulder and left arm during the altercation. Officer Wilchar was able to catch the barrel of Baldwin’s gun and force it down before the trigger was pulled. That shot entered Baldwin’s own right thigh. Officer Wilchar then wrenched the pistol out of Baldwin’s hand and dragged him outside onto the sidewalk. Baldwin then drew another pistol but was knocked to the ground by Wilchar who prevented him from firing any more shots. Officer Massey’s funeral was held on April 14 and the police headquarters was decorated with signs of mourning.
Oh Almighty God, whose great power and eternal wisdom embraces the Universe,
watch over all policemen and law enforcement officers. Protect them from harm in
the performance of their duty to stop crime, robberies, riots and violence.
We pray, help them keep our streets and homes safe day and night.
We recommend them to your loving care because their duty is dangerous.
Grant them your unending strength and courage in their daily assignments.
Dear God, protect these brave men and women, grant them your almighty protection,
unite them safely with their families after duty has ended.