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County Sheriff’s Office commemorates fallen deputies with monument

Chris West speaks to the crowd of spectators as the CCSO monument is presented. (Photo by Jacob Sturm)

By Jacob Sturm

Taps rang out around the Canadian County Courthouse on Monday morning in honor of four former Canadian County deputies who lost their lives in service to the county at various points of its storied past.

Numerous deputies lined up just outside the courthouse, along with a plethora of spectators and county officials to listen to a short speech from Sheriff Chris West while presenting the newly constructed monument officially.

Deputy Sam Farris, Sergeant Gary Garrison, Lieutenant Shirley Jo Lanning and Deputy Justin Baxter were listed on the tall rectangular monument honoring those who gave their lives in service of the county. Members of the families of those honored were present for the ceremony.

County Commissioner David Anderson then presented the proclamation the County
Commissioners had approved earlier in the morning that declared May 22 as the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office Monument Memorial Presentation Day.

The ceremony meant a lot to West, who worked with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety before retiring from the Highway Patrol at the end of 2012. The Highway Patrol was only a part of his career before coming to the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, as he also enlisted in the Marine Corps before his service in Oklahoma.

“I’ve lost partners in the line of duty in both agencies (Highway Patrol and Canadian County Sheriff’s Office),” West said. “So, it really strikes home (with me). Since I’ve been at the sheriff’s office, I’ve known two deputies that have died… This agency is very close knit to this community.”

The result of that relationship with the community is shown through generosity in donations to the agency. One of those was the monument, even though West said the donors wanted to remain anonymous.

“We have wonderful, loving citizens that support law enforcement and the sheriff’s office that came through financially for us and were there to help us,” West said.

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