Early in 2010, I received a call from our Supply Commander, Captain Jeff Mayberry (retired). Jeff advised me that he had found an interesting artifact regarding KSP history and wanted to share it with me. Later that afternoon, he stopped by my office and produced a crumpled brown envelope with a faded handwritten inscription that read Trooper M. Brady. The envelope contained a badly burned Kentucky State Police badge, unit #480. I instantly recognized the badge as belonging to Trooper Mack Brady who was killed in the line of duty on November 9, 1966. It seems that the badge had been placed in a safe after his death and had never been looked at or accounted for since that time.
Trooper Brady, a seventeen year veteran, was in route to a domestic dispute when he swerved to avoid hitting another vehicle that had failed to yield the right of way. His cruiser ran off the road and hit a bridge abutment, exploding in flames. He perished in the blaze, unable to escape his new cruiser that he had just picked up that morning.
The badge remained in my desk drawer for several months as I agonized over how to present this to the family. Many of you know that Mack’s son, Ed Brady, was a career trooper with us and is now the Sheriff of Henderson County. I had known Ed for many years and finally decided that the badge should be given to him in a private setting. In May 2010, I drove to Henderson and met with Ed in his office. After some small talk, I advised him that I had a very special gift for him. I produced the badge wrapped in simple white tissue paper. Ed sobbed emotionally after unwrapping it, asking me to tell him the full story of the badge’s origin.
After I recounted the story, Ed told me about that fateful day. He was fifteen years old and remembers vividly his dad getting called back out to answer a domestic violence call. He assured him that he wouldn’t be gone long and would return later after supper. News of his death devastated his family and affected them forever. Ed stated that he always wondered how the badge presented to his family at the funeral was in such pristine condition after that horrific crash. It became clear that the Command Staff at the time substituted a new badge, not wanting to add to the family’s grief by presenting them with his original badge in such poor condition.
As Ed and I both cried, he told me that I would never know how much this meant to him and his family. I told him that as part of his KSP family, I knew the sacred significance that lay behind this badge.
Ed quickly apologized and stated that of course he realized that I understood. As he held the badge gingerly in his hands, he softly stated that it was hard to believe that this was resting less than four inches from his dad’s heart when he died.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Let us never forget those who have went before us and those who continue to serve to protect home and family across the Country.
Top Photo: Trooper Mack Brady. Bottom Photo: Henderson County Sheriff Ed Brady.