OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City police recruit who died during training is honored by the state.
In October 2012, Kelley Chase was practicing routine self-defense tactics when he suffered a blow to the head.
The 38-year-old never recovered.
Chase served 15 years in the military before trying to become a police officer, but that career sadly ended before it began.
On Friday, Chase’s name was one of six added to the state’s law enforcement memorial.
“It’s a sad but good day,” said Chase’s widow Elke Meeus. “It means Kelley is going to be memorialized. We’re gonna have a place to come to show the kids what a good person he was.”
Chase’s widow still remembers an adventurous soul she met skydiving in Belgium.
Meeus said, “That’s how we met, on a drop zone skydiving and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.”
Because Chase died in training, there remains some debate about whether it qualifies as a line of duty death.
However, his name has also been etched onto the city’s memorial outside police headquarters.
The family and the department now hopes for one more honor.
Greg Giltner, Oklahoma City police chaplain, said, “We’re hopeful in the near future his name will be added to the national wall in Washington DC.”
Meeus said, “To me he was a police officer in training, but a police officer.”
In addition to Chase, Mitchell Weeks, David Allford, Kristian Willhight, Douglas Hanna and Brian Beck had their names added to the state memorial.
Having Chase’s name added to the national memorial would also benefit the family financially, including college tuition for the family’s two kids.
Since the death, all Oklahoma City police recruits have been required to wear headgear during training.