Four fallen local police officers and Lebanon County’s longest serving district attorney were honored on the morning of Tuesday, May 11, at a solemn ceremony on the steps of the Lebanon Municipal Building.
The event, part of National Police Week, was highlighted by Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf’s reading the roll of the fallen. Proclamations from city and county officials were presented, and those assembled joined in the Prayer of St. Michael, patron saint of police officers.
In keeping with tradition, a lone bugler played “Taps” as the officers on hand saluted, and a bagpiper ended the proceedings by walking off while playing “Amazing Grace.”
Relatives of three of the deceased honorees, former District Attorney David Arnold and Officers Michael Wise and Sheryl Pierce, were present, and received floral bouquets.
Those who were honored
Lebanon Police Chief Aaron McCord. According to Lebanon Daily News archives, a drunken Andrew Shirk began shooting wildly in downtown Lebanon on the night of March 28, 1890. Moments after McCord apprehended him at 8th & Cumberland Streets, Shirk drew a gun and fired a single shot into McCord’s right temple. Shirk fled and was later captured in Hummelstown.
Lebanon Police Chief Cyrus Schaeffer. The Daily News reported that Schaeffer died on February 14, 1903, while apprehending David Shaud, who had just murdered his wife. The account says “[a]t midnight, Shaud was captured after a desperate struggle with officers, during which he killed one policeman, Cyrus Schaeffer. Bitter feeling prevails.”
Reading Patrolman Michael H. Wise II. Wise, a Lebanon native, died on June 5, 2004, when, according to the Daily News, “a man being watched by three plain clothes officers abruptly pulled a gun and began firing.” It was later determined that Wise, who was one of the plain clothes officers, was mistakenly shot by a fellow officer arriving late to the scene. The suspect was convicted and imprisoned as a result of Wise’s death. DA Hess Graf noted that he has since been freed on parole.
South Londonderry Sergeant Sheryl A. Pierce. According to the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police Foundation, Pierce died as the result of Hepatitis C, which she contracted in 1994 while subduing a man who was bleeding profusely. She was diagnosed in 2009, and passed away on September 14, 2013.
Former District Attorney David J. Arnold, Jr. Hess Graf noted that Arnold liked to remind her that he was the longest serving DA in Lebanon County history. He served two tours with the office. He was an assistant from 1997 to 2002, left, then was elected to the top spot in 2006. He served until 2020, when he was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate. Arnold was 49 when he died from brain cancer on January 17, 2021.
Hess Graf closed the event by telling those present “as each of us leave . . . let the gravity of their sacrifices stay with us. Let them inspire us to be better people. To serve better and to be better, every day.”
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