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Oct-02-2009 03:22printcommentsVideo

Salem Honors City Police Department's Only Fallen Officer (VIDEO)

Officer Eckhart of the Salem Police Department died exactly 100 years ago.

100th anniversary of the death of Salem, Oregon Police Officer Thomas Eckhart
100th anniversary of the death of Salem, Oregon Police Officer Thomas Eckhart.
Photo and video by Jerry Freeman

(SALEM, Ore.) - Thursday was the 100th anniversary of the death of Salem, Oregon Police Officer Thomas Eckhart. Officer Eckhart, a husband and father of several children, was shot and mortally wounded on October 1, 1909 while trying to arrest a suspect whose family owned. He died that afternoon in the care of doctors.

The Statesman Journal reports that the officer was killed by 25-year old George Meyers, described as an out of work plumber. His family reportedly owned the Meyers Department Store, located at Court and Liberty streets NE in Salem.

The Salem Police Department honored the 100th anniversary of the death of Officer Thomas Eckhart. He is the only Salem officer to be killed in the line of duty, in the department's 152-year history.

In honor of Officer Eckhart, the Salem Police Department Honor Guard conducted a formal flag raising ceremony at Pioneer Cemetery where Officer Eckhart is buried.

The ceremony took place at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 1st at the main flagpole of the Pioneer Cemetery located in the 100 block of Hoyt Street S in Salem. The Honor Guard then conducted a formal flag lowering ceremony at 5:00 p.m. which was videotaped by our news photographer Jerry Freeman. Salem Assistant Police Chief Lyle Gembala, says Officer Eckhart had been a patrol officer for approximately ten months when he was killed, and he had also served as the Chief of the Fire Department. He was 55 years old at the time of his death and was married with five children.


Jerry Freeman is part of a new generation of dedicated news photographers who are entering the Internet news industry as a second career. He shares in common with many people the dream of becoming a visual journalist. Joining the Navy at an early age, and the Oregon Army Guard a few years later, Jerry has a wide range of life experiences. He describes himself as “an old truck driver with a new found passion to bare witness on the world’s events.” Teaming up with he embarks on a new career as a video news photographer and reporter. Stay tuned, and see how it turns out. Jerry seems to exhibit natural talent and is already becoming a published member of the team. You can send Jerry Freeman an email at this address:

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