Nicholasville Police Honors Fallen Officer; Memorial Moved to Department’s New Building

Published 4:58 am Wednesday, March 16, 2022

A fallen Nicholasville Police officer’s widow thanked those who served with her husband and currently support her family during a prayer service March 11 in front of the department’s new building at 717 N. Main St.

Officer Burke Rhoads was killed on March 11, 2015, in a vehicle collision at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Rogers Road in Garrard County, while on his way to police training.

Melissa Rhoads said that she learned about the accident while at the school she worked at.
“By the time I got to the hospital he was gone, but you were there,” she said, while gesturing and acknowledging the other officers in the police department.

She noted that the department has held a service honoring her late husband every year, and seeing the support from the community “fills my heart.”

“Knowing my children are supported, not only by the schools, but by this department and community, and they are doing well is all a mother can ask for,” Melissa Rhoads said. “I couldn’t have done it without you guys. I’m so appreciative. … Each time we’re together, I feel like we’re celebrating as a family.”

Edgewood Baptist Church Pastor Steve Gray noted that the prayer service was a time to acknowledge the sacrifices made daily by first responders and those in the military.

“We are blessed to live the life we live. The community we live in is a blessing. It is a privilege because of the great sacrifice Burke Rhoads made seven years ago,” he said. “There is no true service without sacrifice, and so many continue to sacrifice every day.”

Gray thanked the first responders who have put their community above themselves.

“We have no promised day beyond this moment,” he said. “Every day is a precious gift. What are you going to do with this gift?”

Gray also noted to the police officers and firefighters that while they work, they do not watch the town alone. “The Lord watches with you.”

Police Chief Todd Justice noted that the monument, which honors Rhoads and William P. Ketron, who died on June 25, 1941, was in front of city hall, but moved to the new police department building in time for the ceremony.

He said he expects to move into the new building on May 1, with an open house to be held sometime in April.
Rhoads’ police honor guard uniform is currently in the old police department building. They plan on putting it in a display case in the new building in the lobby for anyone from the public to come in and see it.

“It has been a long journey, almost two years now,” Justice said. “For our department this is well deserved. We have needed this for many years. This is well worth the wait and money that has been put into it.”

In the beginning of the service, Justice acknowledged the Rhoads’ family.

“We still think about you every day,” he said on the department’s behalf.

News correspondent Nicole Bowman-Layton wrote this story for the Jessamine Journal.