Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. John McDonald bows in prayer next to a fallen officers memorial at the John John Yancey Memorial Park in Huntsville | Ben Garrett/IH
Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals (right) and Scott County Sheriff Ronnie Phillips place a memorial wreath at the fallen officers memorial at John John Yancey Memorial Park in Huntsville on Monday, May 13, 2019 | Ben Garrett/IH

HUNTSVILLE — November marked 15 years since Scott County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Hubert “John John” Yancey lost his life in the line of duty. On Monday, the fallen deputy was finally memorialized.

Yancey and 12 other Scott County law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty are paid tribute by a new fallen officers’ memorial, which was officially dedicated on Monday. The monument is located at the park bearing Yancey’s name, adjacent to the campus of Scott High School.

With family members, county officials and representatives of various law enforcement agencies — including the local sheriff’s department, Oneida Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Knox County Sheriff’s Department — looking on, Monday’s ceremony including the laying of a memorial wreath, a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. A flyover that was scheduled to conclude the ceremony was canceled after an emergency arose in Knox County.

The dedication of a fallen officers memorial has been years in the making. Former 4th District County Commissioner Rick Russ spearheaded the effort. Later, when he began campaigning for county mayor in the 2018 election, he handed the project off to 3rd District Commissioner Sheila Buttram. First District Commissioner David Jeffers, who chairs the county’s Parks & Recreation Committee, played an instrumental role in the project following his election last August, as well.

Lt. John McDonald of the Highway Patrol delivered remarks at Monday’s ceremony. The 1980 graduate of Oneida High School said the fallen officers continue to serve, even posthumously. 

“They serve us in law enforcement by reminding us of the duty we have to serve,” McDonald said.

McDonald spoke of the duty law enforcement officers have — a duty that is carried out on the salary of a public servant even though many officers could make more money in other fields — and said that every officer has to have three sets of eyes: one for his partner, to make sure they’re okay, one for the perpetrator they’re dealing with, and one to “look families in the eye. That are in dire straits and assure them that everything is gonna be okay.”

Scott County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Derek Sexton called the roll, reading aloud the name of each of Scott County’s fallen officers and their end-of-watch, as their descendants or other family members, or a representative of local law enforcement, placed a rose on the memorial wreath.

“I know these men are in a better place with no worries or suffering and someday they’ll be reunited with us again,” McDonald said.