4 fallen South Dakota officers remembered at softball event - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

4 fallen South Dakota officers remembered at softball event

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Saturday was a special day for South Dakota law enforcement as they honored four fallen officers.

Sgt. Chad Mechels, Correctional Officer Ronald "RJ" Johnson, Officer Ryan McCandless and Officer Nick Armstrong were honored at the Battle of the Badges event.

It was an emotional start to the day to play ball.

David Ricke along with dozens of others in law enforcement are playing in the Battle of the Badges softball tournament to support for those killed in the line of duty.

"It's a very stressful job anywhere in law enforcement as far as corrections, being on patrol anything like that," Ricke said.

Four fallen officers are being honored at the games including Toni Schaffer's dad, Ronald "RJ" Johnson. He was killed by two inmates attempting to escape the South Dakota State Penitentiary last year.

"Dad would have loved to be here, this was his favorite thing to do, was sit at games. He always sat in the outfield lines so he could watch everything and he's here today. He never misses a game and I know he's here," Toni Schaffer said.

Officers Ryan McCandless and Nick Armstrong were also remembered.

Police say they were killed during a routine traffic stop in Rapid City.

"I know they both would have enjoyed to come out here and have fun with their fellow officers," Ricke said.

Jamie Mechels, whose husband Sgt. Chad Mechels was killed while responding to a call at a farmhouse in Marion, appreciates the support.

"It's been 3 and a half years, but this support continues and it continues on. I've spoken to widows of officers who are 10 years down the road and they still see the support," Jamie Mechels said.

And she adds, these men will never be forgotten.

"Remembered heroes never die because if you contInue to remember them, then that's the most important thing," Mechels said.

Officers also say it's important to enjoy the good times.

"It means a lot to be out here and have fun, put your guard down and have a good time with your a fellow officers," Ricke said.

And remembering those who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities.

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