Yell County Sheriff’s Department Announces Annual Law Enforcement Memorial to Be Held Wednesday, May 11 | life in the valley

The Yell County Sheriff’s Department will hold its annual Law Enforcement Memorial on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at the Yell County Law Enforcement Memorial in front of the Law Enforcement Center from Yell County to Danville, and the event is open to the public. This event will mark the fifth anniversary of the loss of Lt. Kevin Mainhart, a U.S. Air Force and law enforcement veteran who was killed in the line of duty on May 11, 2017, while attempting to apprehend a domestic violence suspect.

Also this year, the Sheriff’s Department will commemorate the loss of Malachi Thacker, whose story was rediscovered last year through the efforts of a volunteer working on behalf of the Officer Down Memorial Page, which is a website national honoring officers killed in the line of duty across the United States.

Malachi T. Thacker was appointed special deputy sheriff by Sheriff Baxter Gatlin on the afternoon of December 27, 1929. Thacker, who was a United States postal carrier, accompanied Deputy Robert Gatlin and Deputy Arthur “Poss” Mitchell, to mentally apprehend a sick man would have caused turmoil in the Waltreak community.

At approximately 6 p.m., as officers were restraining the subject, the man’s father approached officers from behind and fired a shotgun blast at officers, killing Thacker. Deputy Mitchell returned fire as the suspect, who would later be apprehended, fled into a wooded area.

Deputy Thacker was likely chosen for the name because as a U.S. postal carrier, he was one of the few people in the area who owned an automobile at the time. It is also highly probable that Deputy Thacker knew the wanted suspect and his family, and it was thought that his assistance could enable the arrest without resistance.

Deputy Thacker left behind four brothers, a sister, a wife and four children. While Thacker was only an MP for a few hours, the sacrifice he and his family made to preserve the peace was great and should never be forgotten.

The Sheriff’s Department would like to thank the Officer Down Memorial Page for honoring our fallen officers and helping us rediscover the story of Deputy Thacker, and to Deputy Thacker’s family for helping us fill in the gaps and piece together the rest of their story so we can honor their family’s sacrifice.

Deputy Thacker’s name has been added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a memorial to honor his service is also displayed inside the Yell County Law Enforcement Center.

About Michael C. Lovelace

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