Tuesday, September 05, 2000

Ribbons show support for slain officer

Proceeds go to Crayon's children

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Retired police Capt. Will Klosterman buys two ribbons from Laura Fangman and Amy Perkins.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        Three years ago, Woodlawn Police Officer Kevin Sorrells assisted Cincinnati Officer Kevin Crayon on a case. In a sense, he did so again on Monday.

        Officer Sorrells and about 40 others — including officers' wives — stood under a relentless afternoon sun and sold blue commemorative ribbons for $1 apiece to fans filing into Cinergy Field for the Reds-Mets holiday game.

        They raised $5,807 for the three teen-aged children of Cincinnati Officer Crayon, who was killed early Friday in the line of duty. Officer Crayon, 40, was dragged to his death on Colerain Avenue in Mount Airy by Courtney Mathis, 12, whom Officer Crayon had attempted to stop from driving and shot to death.

        Police released no new information on the incident Monday.

        One ribbon purchaser left an enduring impression, but no name.

        “He just said, "Here's $100 for each child' and gave us three $100 bills,” said Leslie Keller, wife of Cincinnati Police Lt. Col Richard Biehl.

        For those who made donations, the point wasn't the price of the ribbons, but the price of doing police work.

        “It's primarily a symbolic gesture, a show of support for the police,” said Bill Dufford, 56, of Monfort Heights. “They put their lives on the line.”

        “It's really just heartwarming,” Officer Sorrells said of the public's response to the ribbon sale. “It renews the faith.”

        Officer Sorrells was a Golf Manor officer in 1997 when he assisted in a rape case Officer Crayon was investigating. He was joined Sunday by his fiancee, Rhonda Sorrell outside Gate 2.

        “It shouldn't have happened, and it could have been any one of us,” he said. “We're feeling for his family.”

        That's a reality that chilled the hearts of many of the officers' wives who sold ribbons Monday.

        “Some people said they're children of officers and they understand the grief,” Laura Fangman, wife of Cincinnati Officer Paul Fangman and sister-in-law of Fraternal Order of Police President Keith Fangman.

How it happened
        That wasn't Debbie Miller's motivation, though hers did involve children. Her own.

        Having just pinned blue ribbons to the Ken Griffey Jr. T-shirts worn by her sons Andrew Cribbet, 9, and Kevin Miller, 6, she searched for words to explain what she wanted them to understand.

        “I just want them to appreciate police,” she said. “I just feel for the family. I can't imagine what it would be like for them.”

        Police officers' wives, however, can.

        “It's very important because it hits close to home,” said Amy Perkins, whose husband, Jim, works at Cincinnati District 1.

        A similar blue ribbon campaign after the December 1997 deaths of Officers Daniel Pope and Ronald Jeter raised more than $11,000 for their families.

        Grief continued to be expressed on Monday.

        At St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church in Mount Airy, near where the deaths occurred, the marquee overlooking Colerain Avenue read: “Eternal rest, grant Officer Kevin Crayon and Courtney Mathis.”

Funeral details and memorials
In the Line of Duty: A special section on Officer Crayon

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