LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The names of seven officers will be added to the Nevada Law Enforcement Officers Memorial as the Law Enforcement Memorial Relay from Las Vegas to Carson City returns this year.
Metro police confirmed the relay is scheduled to depart Las Vegas on Wednesday, April 27. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped the event in 2020 and 2021. The relay will conclude in Carson City with a ceremony on May 5, according to Rich Fletcher, Nevada Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Director.
“When I was Honor Guard commander for Metro, I used to tell my Honor Guard officers … what would we be like if we forget?” Fletcher said.
Participants in the relay pass a baton that contains the names of fallen officers. The baton contains 144 names, including officers who have died on duty and other deaths classified as historical. The names of officers who died on duty are added to the front of the memorial.
The following names will be added this year:
- Jason Swanger, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Swanger died of complications from COVID-19.
- Micah May, Nevada State Police trooper. May was run down on Interstate 15 as he placed “stop strips” on the highway as authorities pursued a suspect on the highway. May is the 10th Highway Patrol trooper to die in the line of duty.
- John King, deputy for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office. King died of complications from COVID-19.
- David Poffenroth, deputy for the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office. Poffenroth died of complications from COVID-19.
- Ignacio Romero, corporal with the Lander County Sheriff’s Office. Romero died of complications from COVID-19.
Two historical deaths — which are added on a different part of the memorial — are included this year:
- John Dorff, Deputy Chief Fire Marshal for Nevada State Fire Marshal division. Dorff died of cancer in 1995, classified as an on-duty related incident.
- Marvin Scott, Henderson Police Department. Scott died of a heart attack in 1977, related to an on-duty incident.
Fletcher coordinates the ceremony in Carson City. He said the families will receive a baton and a flag during the ceremony, and Gov. Steve Sisolak will speak at the event.
And while it’s a somber event, officers around the state look forward to the camaraderie surrounding the relay. The relay is divided up into segments and runners from law enforcement agencies in Southern Nevada — mostly Metro — take the baton to Tonopah, where officers from Northern Nevada take over.
Details about the relay have not been released.
The event typically begins at the Southern Nevada Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in northwest Las Vegas, with runners — sometimes groups, as several officers join at a time — proceeding on the shoulder of U.S. 95 with a police escort. The route runs through Indian Springs, Beatty, Goldfield, Tonopah, Hawthorne and Yerington on the way to the capital.
Although there hasn’t been a relay since 2019, a ceremony on May 7 last year unveiled three names added to the memorial in Carson City, on the grounds surrounded by the Nevada Capitol, the Nevada Supreme Court and the Nevada Legislature. Officers honored in July were Ben Jenkins of the Nevada Highway Patrol, Erik Lloyd of Metro and Gerald Smith, a bailiff with Pahrump Justice Court in Nye County.
Fletcher notes that due to safety concerns, it’s not a public event. Runners have a police escort, but they are right beside the road and it’s not safe to pull off near the relay.