By Will E Sanders
TROY — Miami County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Robert “Bobby” Elliott, slain in the line of duty three decades ago, was honored at a memorial service held in his memory Sunday, where a portion of State Route 41 from Covington to Troy was dedicated in his honor.
Tipp City police Sgt. Marc Basye, who encouraged the Elliot family to contact state officials regarding the highway dedication, said the memorial service was a very special day that comes 27 years after the death of the fallen sheriff’s office sergeant.
“Today is a proud day for the Elliot family, and a proud day for Miami County,” Basye said. “Thank you to everyone who helped organize this.”
Representatives from all law enforcement agencies throughout the county, elected officials, and other dignitaries attended the memorial service, which was held at the First Lutheran Church in Troy. The ceremony came complete with a bagpipe player and the Miami County FOP Color Guard. Family friend Rev. Ralph Royce, who attended Bethel schools with Elliott, delivered prayers at the service, too.
Elliott was killed in the line of duty Feb. 25, 1987. While guarding a prisoner at Stouder Hospital, the inmate grabbed Elliott’s .357 revolver while the deputy was removing the man’s restraints. Following a struggle, Elliott was shot in the chest and later died. The prisoner later committed suicide following a shootout with law enforcement in Kentucky.
Also attending the memorial service were Mr. Elliott’s widow, Tammie Elliott-Gehle, and her three children, including one of his daughters, Rhea Elliott, who spoke to the crowd at the memorial service.
She said she was honored to be at the event to speak about her father and thanked Sen. Bill Beagle and his staff for the passage of Senate Bill 226, which paved the way for the memorial highway dedication. Beagle was in attendance at the event and also spoke.
Rhea said the the memorial highway now named after her father, which runs from Covington along State Route 41 to Washington Road, was selected for several reasons. She said her family once lived near the state route and attended church in Covington.
“Thank you to everyone who helps keep his memory alive,” she said. “It means more to my family than words can express. This dedication not only serves as a beautiful reminder of his heroism and bravery to everyone that knew him, but also to those who didn’t have that opportunity.”
She added in closing, “On behalf of my family, I just would like to say how excited and grateful I am to be here today to remember our hero, Sgt. Robert Elliott.
Sheriff’s office Chief Deputy Dave Duchak also spoke, telling the crowd just how “important” the highway dedication was to the Elliott family and how it will “never let the memory of Bobby Elliott fade.”
A total of seven law enforcement agents between the police departments of Covington, Piqua, Tipp City, and the sheriff’s office have been killed in the line of duty.
A memorial to all of those fallen officers is located on the plaza outside of the Miami County Courthouse.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.