AUGUSTA — Twenty years ago, Anne Griffith was just 3 years old when her father, Maine State Trooper James “Drew” Griffith, was killed in the line of duty. On April 15, 1996, he was in Warren and making a U-turn in his police cruiser to follow a speeding driver when a commercial truck struck his vehicle broadside.

Afterward, Anne Griffith recalled Thursday morning at an event honoring Maine’s fallen law enforcement officers, her father’s fellow officers became close with her, her siblings and her mother, Maine Warden Service Chaplain Kate Braestrup. Griffith called her father’s fellow officers “my blue family.”

Two decades later, Anne Griffith has followed her father and adopted family members into the ranks of blue. After serving as a reserve patrol officer in 2014, she is now an investigative analyst at the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit.

Griffith was addressing a crowd that had assembled in front of a memorial to Maine law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. More than 80 officers are named on the memorial, including local police, state police, sheriff’s deputies, Maine Wardens and park rangers.

This was the 25th year the Maine Chiefs of Police Association and Maine Sheriffs Association have held an annual remembrance for fallen officers.

The memorial is located on State Street, next to the State House, and uniformed law enforcement officers from around Maine marched into the event from Union Street, preceded by a Maine State Police pipe and drum unit. Family members of law enforcement and various state dignitaries were also at the event.


By becoming a law enforcement officer herself, Griffith told them, she developed a first-hand appreciation for their contributions.

As a reserve officer, Griffith said, “I thought often of my dad. I got a glimpse of him, his sorrows and satisfactions, through performing the tasks that he performed. I placed handcuffs on offenders while they fought me. I performed CPR on two victims. I helped in preventing the suicide of a mentally ill woman.”

As a computer analyst, she now investigates crimes such as possession of child pornography.

“Because of the nature of that work, I can point to particular cases and know for certain that I made a difference in the outcome of an investigation,” she said. “There is some satisfaction in this that my father felt and that I feel too. I know there is no greater sense of honor and purpose than participating in the protection of innocent human lives. This is what my father died doing.”

Those who attended the memorial also heard from retired Chief Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, Chief Michael Field of the Bath Police Department, who is also president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, and Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.

In her remarks, Mills identified a few of the fallen, including young and old, officers, troopers, and wardens.


“These men, in their day, they all found lost children, stopped assaults, put out fires, rescued the lost, negotiated results and did good deeds daily, not for pay but out of duty and respect for the law, to keep the peace,” Mills said.

After the main ceremony, members of the Augusta Police Department visited the grave sites of Officers Seldon Jones and Rufus Lishness in Mount Hope Cemetery. Lishness was shot in the head on Nov. 11, 1884, while responding to a disturbance at Fort Western, which housed tenement apartments at the time. Jones was killed May 17, 1930, when he was thrown from his motorcycle when it hit a pothole on Bangor Street.

The visiting officers left wreaths at the grave sites to mark each man’s memory.

They haven’t been the only police officers marking the memories of those who served. Twenty-five years ago, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund chose this week to be National Police Week, and departments around the country have been holding similar events.

On April 15 of this year, Griffith marked the memory of her own father by going on a run in the area where she grew up and where Drew Griffith used to go on runs as well. His death was exactly 20 years earlier.

Griffith was joined by two other members of the Maine State Police — one a rookie, the other a sergeant — neither of whom had known her father. But by joining her in the memorial, Griffith said, it was like they were meeting him.


“The sky was clear blue and the air was crisp with salt from the nearby ocean,” Griffith said. “In honoring my father today, I honor you. Thank you.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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