Hundreds attend visitation, funeral services for fallen officer
Deputy Sutton laid to rest

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy Roy B. (Bruce) Sutton Jr., 33, was laid to rest last Thursday, December 17 with full honors conducted by the Fraternal Order of Police Memorial Team and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

It was a somber day as hundreds of law enforcement officers representing many different agencies and states gathered to pay final respects to a “brother” who had lost his life in the line of duty. Deputy Sutton was killed in a single vehicle crash while responding to a domestic dispute on December 11.

Members of the Cincinnati Police Department motorcycle unit escorted the vehicle carrying Deputy Sutton and members of the family to the Madison High School Gymnasium where funeral services were held at 11 a.m.

Despite the freezing temperatures, people lined the route taken by the procession following the funeral to have one last chance to honor the fallen deputy. After a brief stop at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on Main Street for the final 10-42 (call), the cars continued onto US 421 where the Garrison flag was flown. Every car in the procession would pass under the flag that waved high in the sky. The flag was attended by members of the Madison Fire Department and the Walnut Street Fire Department.

The procession continued from Jefferson County to Ripley County where Sheriff Tom Grills took the lead to take Deputy Sutton to his final resting place at the New Marion Cemetery on Michigan Road.

The procession was massive with hundreds of police vehicles. As the procession came into the small town of New Marion, people came out onto their porches, stood in their yards and paid tribute to the deputy, who was raised in the small town.

The procession stopped at the New Marion Baptist Church - where Deputy Sutton was baptized - as the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Pipes and Drums joined the riderless horse, and honor guard to escort the local fallen hero to the cemetery.

At the cemetery procedure was followed for a full honors burial with the flag that draped the coffin being folded to precision and presented to Sutton’s widow. The firing squad fired three volleys, and officers filed one by one past the casket to place a white carnation dotted with red. The white carnation denotes purity of service, with the red dot signifying the blood that was shed.

The death of Deputy Sutton hit officers from the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office particularly hard as many of them knew the South Ripley High School graduate who had grown up in the county.

Bob Meyer now principal at South Ripley High School remembered Sutton as a “good athlete, unassuming, just a real good kid.” The flag at the school was flown at half-mast as they honored their fallen graduate. Classmates came in from many areas to pay their final respects to Sutton at the visitation service held Wednesday, December 16. “It was just so sad,” one classmate commented.

Members of the New Marion Baptist Church came together to open the church doors to the large number of law enforcement officers and media that descended on the small area.

The roads were closed for several hours in the area as the procession literally used Michigan Road for a parking lot.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” noted Karen Reynolds who pastors the New Marion Baptist Church. She said it was of course the largest funeral procession she has ever seen, and was glad the church could offer any comfort during this difficult time for the family and friends of the fallen officer. “We will continue to pray for this family who has sustained such a tragic loss,” she said.

Officer Scott McDaniel with the State Fraternal Order of Police Critical Incident Memorial Team, who coordinated the effort noted, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a rural or urban department, large or’s a fallen officer.” He described law enforcement as a big family, saying they have lost a brother.

Leading the procession from the New Marion Baptist Church to the cemetery just beyond it, were members of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Pipes and Drums, the honor guard, riderless horse, and officers escorting the hearse bearing the body of fallen Jefferson County Deputy Bruce Sutton, who was formerly from Ripley County and was brought home to the New Marion Cemetery for his final resting place. Hundreds of police from a myriad of agencies, participated in the funeral services and burial ceremony last Thursday, December 17.

Above officers from three states gently placed a white carnation on the casket of slain Jefferson County Deputy Bruce Sutton last Thursday, December 17 at the New Marion Cemetery. The white carnation denotes purity of service with the red dot signifying the blood shed. Pictured at right officers folded the flag with precision that draped the casket and presented it to the deputy's widow. Deputy Sutton was buried with full honors after he was killed in a single-vehicle accident while responding to a domestic dispute in Jefferson County..