BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Two memorials are now at the new Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office headquarters, following an unveiling ceremony on Friday, October 27, 2023.
One honors fallen officers, and the second remembers the K-9 officers who served alongside their human comrades.
“We want to honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We want to have something that’s really nice to honor their memories,” said Raleigh County Sheriff Jim Canaday. “We should never forget where we’ve come from. And I think that goes a long way, if you don’t forget the past, you won’t forget the future.
“So, we really wanted the public to know, we’re proud of the that have served here. We’re very proud of them. And we’re very thankful for their sacrifice.”
It was a moment of pride for Canaday, and for family members of fallen officers, as deputies revealed the two new monuments to the public on Friday. Terry Rahn, a family member of an officer who was killed in 1927, told those gathered that it’s the first time his officer’s sacrifice has been honored. He said a detective tracked him down to invite him to the ceremony.
“He’d been doing research, extensive research,” said Rahn. “And he was trying to track down the descdents of George W. Spangler and the rest of these honored here today, and I’ve been almost in tears.”
Canaday said detectives contacted family members in a meticulous process.
“We wanted to make sure we contacted everybody,” Canaday said, adding some of the officers were killed more than 80 years earlier, making it difficult to track family members.
“We really expended a lot of effort, but it one of the things that we were happy to do,” said the sheriff. “The guys that worked on those, I think they took a lot of pride in doing it. I got phone calls every time that they had found a family member, so they really enjoyed that. And it was something we were honored to be able to do for these people.”
Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield and Republican delegates Todd Kirby and Eric Brooks also spoke. The two delegates promised harsher penalties for those harm police officers.
A K-9 officer memorial was also presented to the public during the same ceremony.
Canaday said the new sheriff’s headquarters offered a long-awaited space to erect the monuments.