Slain Mt. Pleasant police chief is set for national honor
The tragic, local story of late Mt. Pleasant Borough Police Chief Denver Braden Pore will soon be America's tale to tell.
Pore, who in 1906 became the borough's only officer ever killed in the line of duty, will be one of 31 names added to the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. during National Police Week in May.
“It's been well over 100 years since it happened, so it's nice to see Chief Pore get honored like this,” said Erich “Rocky” Geppert, 20, of Oakmont, who is an auxiliary police officer with the Allegheny County municipality's police department.
Father, son ensure Pore's nomination
More than a year ago, Geppert and his father, full-time Oakmont police officer Erich “Rick” Geppert, first learned of Pore's story and began the process of nominating him for enshrinement at the national memorial.
On April 5, 1906, Pore was shot by Andrew Lindsay Jr. as Pore attempted to arrest the 22-year-old man who was intoxicated and firing a pistol about town.
Two days later, Pore — a husband and father of two — died of his wounds. He was 25.
Lindsay fled town and was never apprehended for his crime.
The Gepperts serve as volunteer case investigators for the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial of Allegheny County, a nonprofit organization that pays tribute to law enforcement officers from the county who died in the line of duty.
Occasionally, the Gepperts' focus and efforts shift to fallen, out-of-county officers such as Pore, whose death caught their attention more than a year ago as they were conducting research on a genealogy website.
It was then that the father-son team's work to weave the late officer's memory into America's national fabric began.
“The job today is still as dangerous as it was then, but at the time Chief Pore was killed, it seems the public didn't really care as much as they do for fallen officers today,” Rocky Geppert said.
Duo contacts local historian
Last March, the Gepperts contacted Rick Meason, executive director of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society, after noticing a family tree of Pore's family that Meason was compiling on Ancestry.com.
Meason — who first learned of Pore's story in 2013 — has since brought the tragedy to light in a way which compelled an anonymous local donor to the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Association to finance the creation and installation of a stone in memory of Pore near the burial ground's main entrance, where he was interred following his death.
In July, the Gepperts came to Mt. Pleasant, where retired borough Police Chief Stephen Ober endorsed their nomination for the honor in the nation's capital. It was an essential step in the process, Rocky Geppert said.
“It is a requirement that the police chief of the town where the officer served signs off on the nomination,” he said.
As a local champion of Pore's memory, Meason reacted with great enthusiasm recently when told of the news that Pore will be immortalized on a national scale.
“I am so happy that Chief Denver Braden Pore is finally going to be recognized for the sacrifice he made for our town,” he said. “The entire Mt. Pleasant community can take pride in the addition of his name to the National Memorial. Chief Pore will forever be remembered alongside some of the bravest men and women who ever wore a badge.”
Memorial official lauds team's effort
Pore's name will be etched at the national memorial along with 30 other officers from across the nation, 25 of which were also nominated by the Gepperts.
“(Rocky) Geppert does exceptional work,” said Carolie Heyliger, research manager for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The memorial — centered in the 400 block of E Street Northwest in the District of Columbia — honors federal, state and local law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty, according to the fund's website.
Dedicated on Oct. 15, 1991, it features two curving, 304-foot-long, blue-gray marble walls where carved names of more than 20,000 officers felled in action throughout U.S. history are situated, the site states.
The names date back to the first known death of that kind in 1791, the site states.
“The majority of cases are historical cases from the early 1800s, the late 1800s and the early 1900s; most people don't know about them until they are turned over to us,” Heyliger said.
Designed by architect Davis Buckley, the memorial sits on three acres of federal park land in Judiciary Square, the historic seat of America's judicial branch of government, the site states.
Patch is sought for placement next to name
In January, the memorial fund's names committee, comprised of members of the fund's board of directors, approved Pore's dedication to the national memorial based on research submitted by the Gepperts.
Memorial staff will work with its engravers to align the names on the memorial and schedule the engraving, usually two to three weeks prior to National Police Week, the site states.
Each May 13, during the candlelight vigil at the memorial, the newly engraved names are read aloud and formally dedicated on the monument, the site states.
And the Gepperts, who have attended the ceremony in past years, plan to be there again.
“It's something to see,” Geppert said. “I plan on acquiring a Mt. Pleasant police patch to place next to his name on the memorial.”
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.