Local News

May 14, 2014

DPD to dedicate memorial site today

On Peace Officers Memorial Day

— The Dalton Police Department will make good on a century-old promise when it dedicates a memorial site to the memory of a former police chief and also fallen law enforcement officers everywhere. The memorial site will be dedicated today as part of the department’s observation of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

The department will memorialize the late Chief William “Bill” Hannah who was killed by a gunman on Sept. 20, 1899. Hannah was shot and killed by 18-year-old Will Jones. News accounts of the slaying differ, but most agree that Hannah went to Mount Rachel after complaints of Jones causing a disturbance by firing his rifle into the air while drunk. Hannah confronted Jones, who pointed his shotgun at Hannah. Hannah reportedly said that Jones would not shoot him, at which time Jones shot him in the head. Hannah died two hours later. Jones fled but was captured 26 years later in Texas and returned to Dalton to face trial. News accounts of that trial and its resulting verdict have been lost.

In October 1899, the Dalton City Council resolved to mark Hannah’s grave with “a suitable monument commemorative of his untimely end.” That resolution was never carried out, and over the years the location of Hannah’s unmarked grave has been lost. In recent years, efforts to determine the location of Hannah’s grave have been unsuccessful. Instead, the Dalton Police Department will place the Chief William Hannah Police Memorial on a plaza site on the Police Services Center grounds near the intersection of Waugh Street and Jones Street. The memorial has not yet been constructed, but the site will be dedicated as part of a ceremony observing Peace Officers Memorial Day today at 10 a.m.

“Chief Hannah paid the ultimate price of service, and it will be good to go the last mile and finish what we started over one hundred years ago,” said Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker. “Although the original idea in 1899 was to place a marker at Chief Hannah’s grave, locating it here will be a more prominent location and will serve as a visible reminder of his service. This site will commemorate his service, but will also serve as a focal point for future police memorial observances.”

The observation of National Police Week began in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy declared May 15 to be Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which it falls to be a week honoring police officers. This year, National Police Week is Sunday, May 11, through Saturday, May 17. 

 

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