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End of Watch held for Chief Jerry E. Hicks Sr.


LEADWOOD — Nearly 12 years after Leadwood Chief of Police Jerry E. Hicks Sr. lost his life in the line of duty, the community gathered last Monday to pay their respects in an “End of Watch” ceremony.

The memory of Jerry E. Hicks Sr. was honored last Monday, as a plaque and his badge number, 701, was given to his son, Jerry Hicks Jr., above.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Highway 8 and Railroad Road in Washington County around 6:30 a.m. in late November 2011.

Chief Hicks Sr. was en route to the Potosi Correctional Center to pick up an inmate work crew when his vehicle slid on a patch of ice, veering off the road and colliding with a tree on the passenger side. He was rushed to a hospital in Creve Coeur, where he remained unconscious until succumbing to severe head injuries six days later.

A veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves and Navy, Hicks Sr. dedicated about 25 years of his life to serving in law enforcement.

Before joining the Leadwood Police Department, he served with the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Office, the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office, and the Elvins Police Department.

Even during his free time, Hicks Sr. cared deeply for his community. He enjoyed refurbishing and driving John Deere Tractors in local parades, and served as past master of the Bismarck Masonic Lodge, and a member of the Leadwood Masonic Lodge and the Swords of Bunker Hill.

Almost 12 years after this loss, his son, Jerry Hicks Jr., known affectionately as “Jr.” among friends, stepped forward to carry on his father’s law enforcement legacy in the neighboring town of Leadington. Now serving as the Leadington chief of police, Hicks Jr. indicated he was intent to uphold the law enforcement principles his father held dear.

During the “End of Watch” ceremony, the Leadwood Police Department retired Hicks Sr.’s badge number, 701, symbolizing the void left by his death. The badge, along with a plaque, was presented to the Hicks family in recognition of Hicks Sr.’s honorable and faithful sacrifice.

The plaque read: “On behalf of the Mayor, the City Council, the Chief of Police, and the city of Leadwood, Missouri, a grateful community and nation. In recognition of the service and ultimate sacrifice of Chief Jerry E. Hicks Sr., please accept this flag and shield as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful sacrifice.

“In honor of that sacrifice, the Department Service Number he proudly displayed, number 701, will by Leadwood City Council ordinance, be forever retired, and never again used by the Leadwood Police Department.”

The ceremony concluded with an “End of Watch” call over the police county radio, paying a somber tribute and a final farewell that was described all around as a “long time coming.”

In addition to honoring Hicks Sr., Pastor Ryan Retzer of Eastside Church of God was named as the chaplain for the police department.

“We’ve got a lot of good people in this town, and I believe in it,” Retzer said, marking his dedication to Leadwood as a whole and the honor of serving the spiritual needs of the police department.

Ryan Retzer, right, is sworn in last Monday as the chaplain for the Leadwood Police Department, serving as the first line of spiritual advice for the officers of the city.

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