Fallen corrections officer finally receives headstone

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - After 62 years in an unmarked grave in Frankfort Cemetery, Edwin J. Fisher officially received his headstone Wednesday.


Fisher, a corrections officer at Utah State Prison, was killed in the line of duty on June 1, 1955, as he was returning to his post in the boiler room following a lunch break. He was stabbed multiple times by an inmate and passed away 30 minutes later, becoming the first Utah corrections officer to be killed in the line of duty in the 20th century.


Born in Covington, Kentucky, on May 25, 1897, Fisher was married to Esther L. Cheek, who preceded him in death on April 20, 1944. Little is known of his life until he moved to Utah in 1952 and began his career as a correctional officer shortly thereafter.


He was a widower with no children, so Utah officials had no idea where Fisher was buried until a removed family member notified them that he was entombed next to his late wife in Frankfort Cemetery — in an unmarked grave.


After they received that information, it didn’t take long for authorities in Utah to track him down.


“He deserves recognition and we believe it is our duty to come here and honor him for his sacrifice for Utah and for his country,” said Jerry Pope, division director for the Utah Department of Corrections Division of Prison Operations.


That agency and the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial committee had been working since March to secure a headstone from a local monument company, have it placed and make the trip from the Beehive State to Frankfort for the official unveiling.


Fisher is the first corrections officer that the Utah Dept. of Corrections has had to leave the state to give a proper burial.


With representatives of both the Utah and Kentucky departments of corrections looking on, an honor guard member lifted a white cloth to reveal Fisher’s headstone, which overlooks the state Capitol. No family was present for the ceremony.


“When an officer is killed in the line of duty on the streets, it makes the news,” said Brian Clement, executive board officer of the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial Committee. “That’s not necessarily so for corrections officers. They put their lives on the line every day, too.”


Fisher’s permanent headstone bears his name, birth and death dates, the Utah state seal, a star with Utah Dept. of Corrections enclosed and the inscription “killed in the line of duty.”


“It’s important for the public to understand that we can go to bed and sleep comfortably at night because of the men and women who keep us safe,” Clement said.

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