‘It was time for us to do that’: Pikeville PD Honor Guard members speak on inspiration, history, and tragedy

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Pikeville Police Department Honor Guard has been in service since 2008 when officers took the initiative to found the guard after attending the funeral of an officer killed in the line of duty. Since then, the guard has stayed busy for 13 years with football games, parades, and, most importantly, putting fellow officers from various law enforcement agencies to rest.

“What happens if we lose an officer? Who are we going to get to do the rights and do all the funeral escorts and stuff?” said Pikeville PD Honor Guard founding officer and PIO Tony Conn. “We decided that it was time for us to do that.”

Unfortunately in March 2018, nearly 10 years after founding the guard, the unthinkable happened. Officer Scotty Hamilton was shot and killed in the line of duty, which caused the guard to put a fellow officer to rest.

“In a way, we were fortunate to have our own honor guard,” said Cpt. Russell Blankenship, who is also captain of the honor guard. “No offense to any other honor guards or other departments, but being able to carry your fallen brother was definitely an honor on our part.”

Now, the guard is still busy throughout the year making appearances wherever the city or police chief sees fit, but the memories of Officer Hamilton’s funeral still leaves a mark on those in the guard.

“When we get to do an event now it feels different putting that uniform on,” said Cpt. Blankenship. “It brings back so many emotions and so many memories from that day that sometimes it’s really tough to put it back on.”

After 13 years of service to the community, the guard is still going strong and looking forward to what the future may hold.

“The future of it is great because we’ve got new officers coming in that are so interested in it,” said Officer Conn “That’s great for the older officers that have been here a long time that’s on it.”

Officer Conn and Cpt. Blankenship have also been preparing a locker room exclusively for the honor guard with funds from the police budget to better serve the community and have a more organized group.

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