Officer Eric Stacy (left) and Lt. Jenna DeYong (right) of the Granite City Police Department are joined by Toney Armstrong, director of the Memphis Police Department.
GRANITE CITY — Two Granite City police officers recently traveled to Memphis, Tenn., to participate in the memorial of an officer killed Aug. 1 in the line of duty.
Lt. Jenna DeYong and Officer Eric Stacy represented the Granite City Police Department at the funeral services of Memphis Police Officer Sean Bolton.
“Neither one of us knew him,” DeYong said. “Officer Stacy has two friends; one of them is a Memphis police officer and the other one is a Shelby County police officer. So we went out to show our support for his agency.”
Stacy has been working with the Granite City Police Department for six years after being a member of the Cahokia Police Department for six years. He said he has been to several funerals, including two in New York, during his 12 years as police officer.
“Why I think it’s so important to support is when I worked at Cahokia, one of the guys I was hired with, Jeremy Chambers, was killed in the line of duty,” Stacy said. “I saw how the fact that the other departments come and they help you out and you’re there to show their support and help each and every other guy in that department.”
Bolton, 33, was conducting a traffic stop near Cottonwood Road and Perkins Road in Memphis when he was shot by a person in the vehicle. He was transported to Regional Medical Center in critical condition and died afterward.
Since 1860, 72 Memphis police officers have died in the line of duty. Forty of those deaths, including Bolton, were caused by non-accidental gunfire.
“We heard about it right after it happened,” DeYong said. “We read it on the news the day that it happened. It’s only a four-hour drive, so we decided to make the trip and be part of the brotherhood.”
DeYong and Stacy drove to Memphis, Tennessee’s largest city with more than 653,000 people, on Aug. 5 and returned to Granite City the following night.
“I’ve been here for 25 years and I’ve been to three or four officer funerals now,” DeYong said. “I think the family needs to see the support of fellow law enforcement when something like this happens, even though we don’t know the officer who has fallen. Usually we make the trip to show the support for the family.”
On Aug. 5, visitation was held at Hope Presbyterian Church and the Sea of Blue started after that from the church. The funeral was held at Bellevue Baptist Church the next day. DeYong said the Sea of Blue included more than 700 police cars and went on a 20-mile loop of the city that lasted approximately an hour. The procession ended at the site of Bolton’s death.
Bolton was a Marines Corps veteran who joined the Memphis Police Department in October 2010 after serving in Iraq.
“He’s still one of our brothers,” Stacy said. “He’s still a brother in blue.”