CONCORD — A week after Brentwood Police Officer Steven J. Arkell was shot dead, hundreds of law enforcement officers and citizens gathered at the New Hampshire Law Enforcement Memorial for the annual tribute to those who died in the line of duty.
The ordinarily solemn occasion was even more so as Brentwood Police Chief Wayne Robinson and seven of his officers led a long procession of police officers from across the state, all with their badges covered with a black band.
Gov. Maggie Hassan said it was with a “heavy pall of sorrow” hanging over New Hampshire that law enforcement and citizens came together Monday outside the Department of Justice to honor 47 fallen officers, including Arkell. His name will not be added until next year to the memorial, which is on the grounds of the state Legislative Office Building.
“Like all of the brave souls whose names are etched onto this memorial, and all the officers gathered here today, Steve Arkell answered that call,” Hassan said. “He went into danger head-first and alone. Each and every person whose name is on this memorial set a life aside for their fellow Granite Staters.”
At the end of the ceremony, Attorney General Joseph A. Foster read each name of the local, state or county police, conservation or corrections officer who died in the line of duty.
Family members and/or fellow officers then placed a red carnation onto the memorial wreath.
When Arkell’s name was read, all eight of his fellow officers stood and approached.
Brentwood police Lt. David Roy, a lifelong friend of Arkell’s who represented the slain officer’s wife and two teenage daughters, placed the red carnation on the wreath.
“He came up and asked me if he could,” Robinson said. “He’s been having a hard time with this.”
Robinson said the entire police force is working to hold up for “Steve and the family. We’re doing the best we can.”
The governor said Arkell, a part-time police officer for 15 years, was also a carpenter who prior to answering his last police call that Monday had helped a friend measure a railing for a deck.
She said he was the only officer on duty that afternoon when he went to the 46 Mill Pond Road duplex and, as he went through the door, immediately was shot to death by Michael Nolan, 47. Nolan died in the ensuing fire and explosion.
Fremont police officer Derek Frenek entered the house after Arkell and, the governor said, was met with a “hail of bullets.” He managed to escape unharmed.
The ceremony, which featured performances by the New Hampshire Police Association Pipes and Drums, the Salem Woodbury Middle School choir and the Londonderry High School Marching Lancers, also honored two police officers, both killed in the late 1800s, whose names were added to the memorial.
George Pray of Dover was shot and killed on New Year’s Eve 1888; some of his descendants were at the ceremony.
Manchester police Sgt. Henry McAllister was shot on May 21, 1895, by former Manchester police officer Fred Stockwell.
Stockwell had resigned from the police force as a result of personnel charges brought by McAllister.