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Editorial: Recognition a long time coming for fallen officer

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Before this week there probably weren't many people around Rosemount who knew the story of John McDermott.

There wasn't much reason to. McDermott, a former Rosemount police officer, died in 1923. He wasn't married. He didn't have any children. Over the years most people around town forgot the circumstances of his death.

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That's too bad, because McDermott's story is worth telling. Now, thanks to the investigative work of a current Rosemount officer, it has been.

McDermott died in the line of duty, shot by a fellow police officer who mistook him for one of the suspicious individuals they were investigating.

That the story came to light at all is a remarkable bit of luck. Henry Cho was researching the police department's first badge when an almost offhand comment about a Rosemount officer dying in the line of duty caught his attention. With a lot of investigation done on his own time Cho and help from local historian Maureen Geraghty Bouchard, Cho tracked down McDermott's death certificate, his grave, his military record and even some relatives. He filled in details of the life of the only Rosemount police officer to die serving his city.

There aren't many who would have missed knowing more about McDermott. The man's relatives had little to say about him, and nobody seems to have a photo of him. The only image Cho could find of McDermott was from his military service during World War I.

But McDermott's story deserves to be told. He gave his time to Rosemount. He was reportedly filling in for a fellow officer on the night he died.

Ultimately, Cho hopes to get recognition for McDermott on a national memorial to police officers who died in the line of duty. We hope he's successful.

McDermott deserves the same recognition as any other fallen officer. Cho recognized that as he investigated the circumstances around his long-ago predecessor's death. And hopefully, now that more people know McDermott's story, they'll agree.

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