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Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Hopper

Clark County Ohio Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: 01/01/2011

Deputy Suzanne Hopper

 

To her colleagues, Suzanne Hopper was always “the mom of the shift,” recalled Deputy Larry Straley, who joined the Clark County, Ohio’s sheriff’s office on the same day as her in 1999. “She was surrounded by a bunch of guys – she knew our birthdays, she knew our kids’ names, she knew our wives’ names. She was just an outstanding person, an incredible deputy.”

Suzanne would routinely bring in donuts or coffee or candy for her shift-mates. And when one of her colleagues welcomed a newborn to their family, Suzanne would bring in a baby basket for the mother and child. “She loved taking care of her boys on the shift,” Straley said. “She looked out for all of us.”

As the mother of a son and daughter that she had largely raised herself, Suzanne understood the importance of support networks,and she devoted her time to building them. Her daughter, Emily, had special needs so Suzanne started a volleyball tournament to raise money for the Special Olympics in her honor. It continues to this day, in Suzanne’s name. When a fellow deputy’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, Suzanne organized a tournament for that too. “She took the volleyball and ran with it,” Straley said. “She was always organizing something, always giving back.”

But while she might have been the shift mom, Suzanne pushed back against  the antiquated idea that as a woman in a male-dominated field, she should handle anything less than her fair share. She never took time off – she didn’t want to be responsible for leaving the shift short-handed – and she never handed off a call, even if another deputy was on scene before she was. “If you beat her to the call, you’re not taking the call,” he recalled. “She prided herself on not shirking any calls.”

Her last call came on New Year’s Day 2011, responding to a report of a window being shot out at a trailer park in Enon, Ohio. A man with a history of mental illness shot her as she was photographing some evidence. Two years later, Ohio enacted the “Deputy Suzanne Hopper Act,” which requires the names of mentally ill violent offenders be put into a database so police can stay aware as they investigate.

“It was a true calling for her, and she fulfilled it until the day she passed,” said Straley, who served as a pallbearer at her funeral. “I miss her every day.”

 

 

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