RICHMOND — The name of slain Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis was unveiled Wednesday on the stainless steel face of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial.
His name is now among 518 names on the monument honoring law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. The monument stands in front of the state Department of Criminal Justice Training.
On May 25, 2013, Ellis, 33, was fatally shot as he headed home. He was hit with multiple shotgun blasts after he got out of his cruiser to pick up tree limbs on an exit ramp of the Blue Grass Parkway.
The killing remains unsolved a year later, despite a $218,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect.
Among those attending the ceremony were Amy Ellis, widow of Jason Ellis, and Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin. In an address to the crowd, McCubbin said he remembers going to see the national law enforcement memorial in Washington, D.C., as a rookie Louisville officer.
"I met survivors of families, and that probably sticks out with me most," McCubbin said. He vowed then to attend the national ceremony each year.
"When I made that vow 26 years ago, I didn't know anybody on that wall," he said. "I now know several people on that wall, sadly. And I can assure you that I never thought I would be a chief of police in our great state and having one of my officers etched on that wall."
Nothing can prepare a chief to respond to the scene where one of his officers is dead or dying, McCubbin said.
"I've yet to figure out how to handle that," McCubbin said. "They say that every 57 hours, one of us dies in the line of duty. We never know where that clock is going to chime on that 57th hour, but one year ago, it chimed in Bardstown for me. And we did what we thought was best, because we knew we had a long year ahead."
Gov. Steve Beshear also spoke at the ceremony and publicly thanked officers for their work.
"Today, here at this memorial, we are reminded just how far you will go to protect each and every one of us, and we thank you all," he said.
Also recognized at the ceremony was McCracken County Sheriff's Deputy Chad Shaw, who died of a heart attack shortly after arresting someone on an outstanding warrant.
The ceremony also honored seven Kentucky officers killed in the line of duty between 1908 and 2012, whose names were not added to the national memorial until recently.
Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.