Police officers join Portage County Honor Guard


From left: Officer Matt Plesz, Streetsboro; Patrolman Jim Brown, Hiram; Officer Christopher Dynys, Garrettsville; Officer Joe Knotek, Kent State University; Officer Matt Butcher, Kent; Patrolman Marty Toukonen, Mantua; Officer Aaron Coates, Streetsboro; Officer Robert Putnam, Brimfield; Sgt. Shawn Parker, NEOMED. 

Police chiefs across Portage County have found a way to coordinate officers to stand on duty during public events to help represent local police departments by creating a county-wide honor guard.

KSUPD Community Resource Officer Tricia Knoles said “The honor guard would be utilized in things such as officer funerals, parades and other special details, where a police honor guard would serve.” Knoles said this kind of collaboration hasn’t happened in Portage County before. 

“This is a first for our county and we have representation on the team as well,” Knoles said.

At least two officers from Kent serve in the Portage County Honor Guard: Kent Police Officer Matt Butcher and Kent State Police Officer Joe Knotek. Kent State Police Chief Dean Tondiglia said the department has struggled with this kind of representation at large events like Memorial Day.

While the honor guard won’t bear all the responsibility during these events, it will make local officers’ jobs easier. In June the honor guard attended the funeral for former Ravenna Police Chief Douglas Peters, who spent 36 years with the department and 16 years as chief.

The honor guard is made up of 12 officers – all volunteers – and about half have served in the military. Members from Portage County Honor Guard have already been assisting local police departments around Portage County for nearly a year, but were formally organized earlier this summer.

Contact David Williams at [email protected]