Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Across the United States, 135 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty in 2016. On Monday afternoon, dozens of people gathered on the square in downtown Franklin to recognize three officers who lost their lives in North Carolina.

K-9 Officer Timothy James Brakeen’s end of watch was Sept. 12, 2016. Officer Brackeen served with the Shelby Police Department. Police Officer Tim Brackeen succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained two days earlier while attempting to arrest a man who was wanted for armed robbery and kidnapping.

He was searching the area when other officers who were on scene heard shots fired. They located Officer Brackeen moments later suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken to Cleveland Regional Medical Center and then transferred to Carolinas Medical Center, where he remained until succumbing to his wounds.

The 23-year-old suspect was captured four days later by a SWAT team in Coventry, Rhode Island. He was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for a gun shot wound to the left torso fired by Officer Brackeen. He is now in the Rhode Island Correctional Institution and is fighting extradition.

Officer Brackeen had served with the Shelby Police Department for 12 years and was assigned to the Canine Unit. He is survived by his wife and daughter. His K-9 partner Ciko was retired and is now living with the man who trained him as a puppy.

Deputy Sheriff John Thomas Isenhour’s end of watch was Sept. 28, 2016. Officer Isenhour served with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.  Deputy Sheriff John Isenhour was struck by a vehicle while he was working at an annual cycling event.

He was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injuries 10 days later.

Deputy Isenhour had served with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for 11 months and was a 17-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He is survived by his wife and children.

K-9 Payne’s end of watch was Nov. 29, 2016. K-9 Payne served with the Pembroke Pines Police Department. K9 Payne suffered fatal gunshot wounds while on duty. Payne’s handler had let him out of their patrol car for exercise during their shift. It is believed that Payne picked up a scent and began to track it as he ran out of sight of his handler. Several minutes later his handler heard several gunshots. Payne returned to his handler suffering two gunshot wounds.

It is believed that a homeowner mistook Payne for a dog that was going to attack his dogs.

Payne was taken to a local animal hospital where he remained for several days. He suffered complications after being released and died on Nov. 29, 2016.

K9 Payne had served for a year as a narcotics detection canine with the Pembroke Police Department.

Mint Hill Police Chief Tim Ledford,  who began his career in law enforcement with the Franklin Police Department, served as the guest speaker on Monday. Chief Ledford spoke to the undeniable courage of officers.

“They’re heroes, not only because of how they died, but because of how they lived,” Ledford said.

Ledford said that the three officers were being remembered because they paid they ultimate sacrifice, living out the motto, “All gave some, some gave all.”

“These officers gave all, but we cannot forget that the men and women in uniform here all give some,” said Ledford. “And while the officers we are remembering today gave all, they started by giving some just like you, until the day they gave all. So thank you for what you do and may God be with you each and every day.”