Fallen Newtown officer to be memorialized at nation’s capital

Newtown Police Officer Stephen Ketchum writes a report on a stray dog that Cheryl Rizzardi picked up on Sept. 1, 1999.

NEWTOWN — The late local police officer Stephen A. Ketchum will be honored at the nation’s capital Wednesday evening as his name joins those of other fallen officers on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Ketchum was one of 370 fallen law enforcement officers whose names were added to the memorial this year and will be honored during a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening.

“He was a very well liked and respected officer, and we’re very honored to see his name go on there,” said Chief James Viadero.

Ketchum was a lifelong Bridgewater resident who served as a Newtown police officer for 25 years.

He was also among those who responded to the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Ketchum died March 15, 2016, after succumbing to lung cancer attributed to his response efforts on 9/11.

He was only 48 years old.

Ketchum served as a volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver before joining the Newtown Police Department in January 1989.

He served as a motorcycle officer and firearms instructor, as well as a deputy fire marshal, before retiring from the police force in June 2014 — a year after learning he had developed lung cancer.

Ketchum’s name was added to the 9/11 Responders Remembered Park in Nesconset, N.Y., months after his death.

Two years later, he was memorialized at the Connecticut Police Memorial in Meriden.

Viadero said Ketchum is the first, and currently only, Newtown police officer on the state and national memorials.

Ketchum was one of two Connecticut officers added this year to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The other was Matthew Bradley Mainieri, of Windsor, who died Sept. 2, 2018, at the age of 41.

Connecticut Media Group