Stephan Bunker attended the 32nd annual Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day service in Augusta. SUBMITTED PHOTO

FARMINGTON —  Former selectperson, Stephan M. Bunker, attended the 32nd annual Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day service, held on May 14 at the memorial site on State Street, Augusta. This annual event recognizes the 88 officers in Maine who gave the ultimate sacrifice in losing their lives in the line of duty. The officer’s names, department and date of death are scribed on tablets that are the backdrop to the center stone and statute of the Maine state symbol.

Bunker is one of two remaining charter members of the original memorial committee of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, who worked to erect the memorial in 1991 following the death of Lewiston Police officer David Payne. Bunker and Mike Coty, fellow charter member, were given the honor of laying a wreath with 88 red carnations, symbolizing each life lost.

The keynote speaker was Gov. Janet Mills, who honored the service and sacrifice that officers make every day to their communities. “May we pause in solemn gratitude that we need not add another name to this memorial today.”

Uniformed officers from across the state assembled on State Street, along with color guards, bag pipe teams, along with the assembly of soon-to-graduate class of new police officers from the Vassalboro Criminal Justice Academy. Also in the audience were members of the families of officers lost while serving their communities and state.

Among the list of officers on the wall included municipal police, county sheriffs’ deputies, game wardens, state police, rangers from Baxter State Park and Acadia Nat. Park and the Border Patrol. The stories range from Deputy Ebenezer Parker, the earliest killed in 1808 to more recently Det. Ben Campbell who died in 2019 and Deputy Luke Bull, killed in 2021, both struck at roadside.

Bunker has served as the memorial committee historian, having researched the deaths of each officer, spending many hours in the state museum archives, corresponding with many historical societies throughout the state and reviewing newspaper articles in order to uncover the deaths and circumstances of these officers. Many of the stories had been lost in history thru the generations. Bunker has begun to pen a historical novel from his files, telling the stories of these brave officers and the sacrifices they made to their communities.

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