News Releases

Kentucky State Police Recognize Fallen Water Patrol Officer

Date of News Release: 06/16/2014

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer (left) presented a flag to Frankfort resident Roy Childs in memory of his father, Water Patrol Officer David Childs, who lost his life with Trooper James McNeely on April 8, 1972 in a boating accident on the Kentucky River near the Lock 4 dam while searching for two teens reported missing on a canoe trip.

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) -- The Kentucky State Police held a memorial ceremony for one of its fallen officers today at KSP headquarters in Frankfort.

Water Patrol Officer David Childs

KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer presented a flag to Roy Childs, of Frankfort, in memory of his father, David Thomas Childs, a Kentucky State Police Water Patrol Officer* who perished along with Trooper James McNeely on April 8, 1972. The officers were searching for two Louisville teens reported missing on a canoe trip when a swift current in the rain-swollen Kentucky River swept their boat over the Lock 4 dam in Frankfort, Ky. The missing youths were found later unhurt.

Child was 39-years-old at the time of his death. His body was recovered from the Ohio River near Tell City, Ind. McNeely was 37-years-old. His body was never found.

On April 11, 1972, the Lexington Herald wrote the following about the tragic incident. "It takes the death of policemen, such as the drowning of State Trooper James McNeely and Boating Officer David Childs, to remind the public of its collective debt to the men of the safety forces who each day risk their lives in an often thankless profession."

"Today, we stand on the shoulders of all those who have gone before us and, like David Childs and James McNeely, made the ultimate sacrifice of service over self," said KSP Commissioner Brewer. "We salute them and all those who chose a life that makes a difference."

(*In 1968, responsibility for the enforcement of boating safety laws was transferred from the Kentucky Dept. of Public Safety's Boating Division to the Division of State Police. In November of 1972, responsibility for boating safety was transferred to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.)