Remembering Officer Kent

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Members of the Scranton Police Department gathered Wednesday afternoon for a memorial service held every year on May 15.

This year was a bit different because it included the memory of a long-forgotten officer who was lost in the line of duty more than a century ago.

The memorial outside police headquarters has the name of each officer killed in the line of duty -- 13 of them -- ranging from 1898 to 2015.

Later this year, officers will hold another ceremony for the second name of this list, an officer killed in 1910: Patrol Wagon Driver George Kent.

For Scranton Police Officers, May 15 is a day to remember and to reflect. The department shuts down South Washington Avenue each year to remember 13 officers killed in the line of duty.

"I walk in the footsteps of these officers every day. It can happen to me and my family could be out there, you know what I mean? Without a father, a son, it touches home," said Patrolman Paul Helring.

Helring says one of Scranton's fallen officers had been forgotten, at least more than is acceptable.

Scranton police are now stepping up for George Kent, 109 years after he was murdered responding to a call.

Around Christmastime last year, members of the Fraternal Order of Police in Lackawanna County found Officer Kent's grave at Forest Hills Cemetery in Dunmore, but that grave doesn't have a marker and that's something the FOP couldn't stand for.

"To know someone laid down their life for the residents of the city of Scranton and he was just forgotten about for that long and nobody really knew where he was, that bothered me personally," said Blakely Police Chief Guy Salerno.

It was Chief Salerno who came across Officer Kent's unmarked grave. He called Scranton Police with the plight and offered to help with a solution.

Scranton officers have ordered a headstone for George Kent and other officers have pledged to care for the grave -- a promise written in stone.

"George Kent will be known, and he will have a headstone, and we will still put that wreath there every Christmastime," Chief Salerno said.

Members of the Fraternal Order of Police in Scranton say Officer Kent's headstone is being made. They plan to put in with a special ceremony later this year.

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