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The Cherryville Eagle

Cherryville Police Department honors fallen officer at May 15 ceremony

Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks’ son, Aiden Jenks, places flowers on the grave of Chief Albert L. Painter, at the Friday, May 15, ceremony at St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery. (photos by MEP/The Eagle)

by MICHAEL E. POWELL
Editor
[email protected]

Cherryville Police Department Chief Cam Jenks and some of his officers joined CPD Chaplain Rev. Will Upchurch at St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery on Friday, May 15, to honor Cherryville’s only fallen police officer, killed in the line of duty, Chief Albert L. Painter.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15, as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
Cherryville is just one of many communities, large and small, across the United States that honors and remembers their law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the family members, friends and fellow officers who are left behind.
According to information from the ODMP.org (Officer Down Memorial Page) web site it is noted that Chief Albert L. Painter was born on July 26, 1872 and died on January 16, 1926.
On that Friday, May 15, Chief Jenks and some of his officers met with Chaplain Upchurch and remembered him in prayer and scripture reading and laying flowers on his grave. The flowers were placed on Chief Painter’s grave by Chief Jenks’8-year-old son, Aiden. Cherryville Police officers present were Detective Lt. Mark Stout, Sgt. Wesley Bennett, and Patrol Officers Vince Burleson and Sable Cranford.
Chaplain Upchurch thanked the CPD officers for coming out to remember Chief Painter, as well as thanking them for all they do to keep people in Cherryville safe. He read a scripture from John’s Gospel, chapter 21, verses 15-19.
He talked about Christ asking the Apostle Peter to feed His sheep and how that was a type of the “serve and protect” job officers do on a daily basis, being willing to lay down their lives as good shepherds for their “flock”, or community. Chaplain Upchurch’s prayer for the CPD officers was for them to allow Jesus’ peace to fall upon them, exhorting them to remember they were not alone in their jobs and that people do pray for them daily.
Said Rev. Upchurch, “I want you all to know and remember there are many who are praying for you all.”
Chief Jenks said he has been to many services for fallen officers.
“They never fail to make me very appreciative of how honored we are as law enforcement officers to be able to do what we do for our community and its citizens,” he said.
To put Chief Painter’s life into some historical context, the War Between the States had been over for seven years when he was born. World War I had been over for eight years when he died. He lived through one of the deadliest pandemics the world has ever seen – the Spanish Influenza – only to be shot down in the streets of his home town trying to do his duty as the Chief of Police of the little township formerly known as White Pines. The name had only been changed to Cherryville, commemorating the many cherry trees found growing there, when young Albert was just nine years old.
Chief Painter, 52, according to historical sources, succumbed to his wounds on Thursday, Jan. 14, 1926, those wounds sustained two days earlier while, as historical sources note, attempting to arrest an intoxicated man who was said to be firing his gun in town. The suspect, identified in local newspapers of the time as Mr. Jesse Vandyke, is said to have shot through a store window, fatally wounding Chief Painter as the Chief was crossing in front of the window to enter the store and arrest Mr. Vandyke for drunken and disorderly conduct.
The suspect was arrested following the shooting and, as sources noted from the time, sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison.
Chief Painter was survived by his wife and six children.
This year, the names of 307 officers killed in the line of duty were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, according to the NLEOM’s web site, which noted, “These 307 officers include 135 officers who were killed during 2019, plus 172 officers who died in previous years but whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history until now.”
For more information about National Police Week, please visit https://nleomf.org/policeweek.