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At annual Concord event, Hassan and others honor slain Brentwood officer

  • Police officers from the Brentwood force bow their heads during theLaw Enforcement remembrance day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

    Police officers from the Brentwood force bow their heads during theLaw Enforcement remembrance day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014

    GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

  • The color guard stand at attention at the Law Enforcement remembrance day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

    The color guard stand at attention at the Law Enforcement remembrance day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014

    GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

  • Lt. David Roy pins a flower at the ceremony honoring fallen law enforcement officers. Roy was a friend and fellow officer of Brentwood Police Office Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week.<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

    Lt. David Roy pins a flower at the ceremony honoring fallen law enforcement officers. Roy was a friend and fellow officer of Brentwood Police Office Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week.

    GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

  • Lt. David Roy hugs his wife Laurie after the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014. Roy honored his friend and partner Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week by placing a flower on a wreath honoring all fallen law enforcement officers around the state.<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

    Lt. David Roy hugs his wife Laurie after the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014. Roy honored his friend and partner Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week by placing a flower on a wreath honoring all fallen law enforcement officers around the state.

    GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

  • U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen hugs the Brentwood Police Chief after the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

    U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen hugs the Brentwood Police Chief after the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014

    GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

  • The Brentwood Police force at the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014 honoring fallen police including their fellow officer Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week. Lt. David Roy, second from left, placed a flower on the wreath honoring those killed.<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

    The Brentwood Police force at the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014 honoring fallen police including their fellow officer Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week. Lt. David Roy, second from left, placed a flower on the wreath honoring those killed.

    GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

  • This Nov. 2013 photograph shows Brentwood, N.H. police officer Stephen Arkell, who was shot while responded to a domestic disturbance call at a home which later exploded and burned, in Brentwood, Monday May 12, 2014, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General. (AP Photo/The Portsmouth Herald, Ryan O'Leary)

    This Nov. 2013 photograph shows Brentwood, N.H. police officer Stephen Arkell, who was shot while responded to a domestic disturbance call at a home which later exploded and burned, in Brentwood, Monday May 12, 2014, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General. (AP Photo/The Portsmouth Herald, Ryan O'Leary)

  • Police officers from the Brentwood force bow their heads during theLaw Enforcement remembrance day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff
  • The color guard stand at attention at the Law Enforcement remembrance day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff
  • Lt. David Roy pins a flower at the ceremony honoring fallen law enforcement officers. Roy was a friend and fellow officer of Brentwood Police Office Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week.<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff
  • Lt. David Roy hugs his wife Laurie after the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014. Roy honored his friend and partner Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week by placing a flower on a wreath honoring all fallen law enforcement officers around the state.<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff
  • U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen hugs the Brentwood Police Chief after the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff
  • The Brentwood Police force at the Law Enforcement Remembrance Day in Concord, Monday, May 19, 2014 honoring fallen police including their fellow officer Stephen Arkell, who was killed last week. Lt. David Roy, second from left, placed a flower on the wreath honoring those killed.<br/><br/>GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff
  • This Nov. 2013 photograph shows Brentwood, N.H. police officer Stephen Arkell, who was shot while responded to a domestic disturbance call at a home which later exploded and burned, in Brentwood, Monday May 12, 2014, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General. (AP Photo/The Portsmouth Herald, Ryan O'Leary)

With flags whipping at her back and officers stoically lined at her sides, Gov. Maggie Hassan joined law enforcement and state officials yesterday in Concord to honor those who have died in the line of duty, including Brentwood police Officer Steve Arkell, who was gunned down a week ago while responding to a domestic disturbance.

The annual event, held on the lawn of the Legislative Office Building before a crowd of several hundred, had all of the pageantry and solemn display of years past – the rumbling stream of motorcycles; the bagpipers and drummers marching in step; the slow, rhythmic pronouncement of 47 names. But it took on an especially somber tone this year, coming just days after Arkell’s death.

“Last year at this time I knew that we were lucky,” Hassan said. “We came together on this day without a new name to add to this hallowed memorial. I wish that were true once again.”

Instead, she said, “we come together with a heavy pall of sorrow hanging over the state.”

Arkell, a 48-year-old part-time officer and married father of two, was the first law enforcement official killed on the job since April 2012, when Greenland police Chief Michael Maloney was shot to death during a drug raid. Arkell was the only officer on call last Monday when the report of an argument between a man and his 86-year-old father came in. He had been building a railing for a friend’s elderly mother at the time, Hassan said.

Minutes later he was dead, his body riddled by gunfire.

Arkell was a selfless family man who cherished his tiny community and dedicated himself to both enriching and protecting it, Hassan said. He was a high school lacrosse coach, a trained carpenter and “a man whose bravery and compassion represented the very best of law enforcement, and the very best of humanity.”

“He was a community leader known to all as a kind and caring soul,” Hassan said. “And he was a builder who, with his own two hands, strengthened the town that he so loved.”

“But when that call came,” she added, “he set all of that aside, went into danger headfirst and alone, and lost his life in defense of our right to live our own life in safety.”

Arkell’s family did not attend the ceremony, but his eight fellow officers did. Brentwood police Lt. David Roy, who knew Arkell since grade school, did the honor of pinning a crimson flower to an ivory white wreath in his name. He then stepped back and, together with his seven co-workers, lifted his right hand stiffly to his brow.

U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen attended the ceremony, and they each approached the eight officers afterward, offering handshakes, hugs and quiet condolences. Brentwood police Chief Wayne Robinson, speaking to reporters briefly after the ceremony, said the department has struggled to gather themselves over the past week.

“We’re all taking it hard,” he said.

A memorial service for Arkell is set for tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Exeter High School. A public wake will be held Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Stockbridge Funeral Home in Exeter.

Though Arkell’s death was at the forefront of yesterday’s event, friends and family members of many of the state’s 46 other officers who have died on the job were also present. Hassan and others, including Attorney General Joe Foster, spoke in front of the large granite memorial on which their names are etched.

“None of what we have accomplished as a state and as a country would be possible without you,” Hassan said of the law enforcement community. “None of us could live our life in peace and dignity without you. None of us could love or lead without you.”

She then turned her attention directly to Arkell.

“Steve, with all of our heart, the people of New Hampshire thank you,” Hassan said.

“And we miss you,” she added, “as we miss all of the fallen heroes who we honor here today.”

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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