TWINSBURG — Although he’s been gone for a decade, Police Officer Josh Miktarian is still remembered by several of his colleagues and many local residents, and they will gather Friday, July 13 to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.
Officers and the public will gather at the Miktarian Memorial at Ravenna Road and Miktarian Parkway from 8-10 p.m. to share memories of the officer and talk with his surviving family members.
The Twinsburg Police Association and Twinsburg Firefighters Union Local 3630 have teamed up to install two permanent flag poles at the Miktarian Memorial. One will fly the thin blue line flag (police) and the other the thin red line flag (firefighters).
The poles are set at 45-degree angles from the center of the memorial, which is symbolic for Miktarian’s badge Number 45.
"On the 10-year anniversary of Josh’s EOW, we want to proudly display the thin red line flag and thin blue line flag together to show that we have worked together to get through this over the last 10 years," says a post on the police association’s Facebook page.
"To frame the memorial with our flags will let Thea [Miktarian’s daughter] and Holly [his wife] know we are there for them, and Josh’s memory lives on."
The Facebook page has an item posted which states: "In memory of K-9 Officer Joshua T. Miktarian. Forever missed, never forgotten. Your brothers in blue."
In the early morning hours of July 13, 2008, Miktarian was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop on Glenwood Drive. He was found by responding officers and flown to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The suspect — Ashford Thompson — was arrested a short time after the incident by Bedford Heights police officers, and was convicted of murder in May 2010, then sentenced to death.
Now 33 years old, Thompson sits on death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution. An execution date has not been set.
Miktarian served with the Twinsburg Police Department for 11 years, and also was a part-time officer for the Uniontown Police Department in Stark County.
Miktarian was the first — and still only — Twinsburg officer killed in the line of duty. On July 1, 2015, the city dedicated the memorial to Miktarian.
"I made a personal promise to his family to keep his memory alive," said Officer Dan Fidoe, who arrived on the scene shortly after Miktarian was shot. Fidoe is the current president of the police association.
"Most police departments don’t come close to what we’ve done to keep Josh’s memory alive and to continue to support his family members. We go out of our way to do that, and we take pride in that. We’re still supporting the family 10 years later just like we did after the tragic incident."
Milktarian’s wife, Holly, said the support of local officers, out-of-town officers and the public has been much appreciated. "The city police and fire departments have been so supportive, and that means so much to me," she said.
Memories of Josh have continued to stay with her. "He was a great guy who had the ability to make anyone laugh," she said. "It’s comforting to know that his friends have kept his memory alive and he has not been forgotten — even 10 years after his death."
Although the Miktarians’ daughter, now 10, was only a few months old when Josh died, Holly said many police officers have shown support for her, too. She attends a camp each year for children who have lost a parent, and a lot of people have shared memories of Josh with her.
At city council’s July 10 meeting, Councilman Brian Steele made the following statement about the 10-year anniversary of Miktarian’s death:
"It’s hard for me to fathom that it’s been 10 years since Josh’s death in the line of duty. What really gets me is the guy who shot him is living longer than Josh did. That’s a real travesty."
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org