Memorial to honor late Canadian County sheriff’s deputies

Three have died in line of duty in Canadian County Sheriff’s Office history

Shirley Lanning

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A stone memorial will honor Canadian County sheriff’s deputies who died in the line of duty.

The memorial will be placed near the flagpole between the entrance to the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office and Canadian County Courthouse in El Reno.

“We have had three deputies that have given their lives in the line of duty in the history of the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office,” Lt. Mike Grimes said.

“We want to memorialize that.”

Plans call for a badge to be mounted on a granite stone, with nameplates of the three deputies below.

The first Canadian County sheriff’s deputy to die on duty was Sam Farris, who was shot and killed on May 23, 1894, while attempting to arrest two wanted men. One of the suspects also was shot and killed in the shoot-out; the other was arrested.

Gene Garrison

The second death was Sgt. Gene Garrison, a 17-year Canadian County Sheriff’s Office veteran who suffered a fatal heart attack while on duty Feb. 1, 2014.

The latest fatality happened Feb. 14, 2020, when Lt. Shirley Jo Lanning died in an automobile crash. The 30-year law enforcement veteran was killed when her patrol car crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming vehicle.


Deputies and officers must meet certain criteria to be honored on law enforcement memorials like the one planned at the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.

“We wouldn’t put them on our memorial unless they were approved for the state memorial,” Grimes advised county commissioners Aug. 16. “There is a set or procedures for that.”

Oklahoma’s law enforcement memorial is in front of state Department of Public Safety headquarters in Oklahoma City.

Canadian County Commissioners unanimously approved the request to place the stone memorial.

“It sounds like a good idea to me,” Chairman Jack Stewart said.