Two fallen Heflin police officers will be memorialized by having sections of two roads renamed for them. On Tuesday the Heflin City Council recognized an Alabama House Joint Resolution which renames a portion of U.S. 78 in memory of Lt. Ralph Byron Bentley, who died in the line of duty in July, 1982.
Lt. Greg Merrill, who died in 2003 from cancer, will have a section of Alabama 46 renamed after him.
According to Heflin police Chief A. J. Benefield, state Rep. Richard Lindsey, Sen. Gerald Dial and Secretary of State John Merrill were instrumental in getting the resolution passed that will honor the officers.
The Fraternal Order of Police, Merrill-Bentley Memorial Lodge No. 79 will pay for the signage, which organizers plan to unveil during the city’s Fourth of July celebration on July 1 at McIntyre Park.
Minanette Warren, Bentley’s widow, spoke after the meeting of the honor accorded her late husband.
“Well, it’s a long time coming, I think Byron deserved it, he was a very good officer as most people will tell you and I’m so glad his son will see it,” Warren said.
Tears streamed down Warren’s face as she spoke.
“He was the type of officer that could arrest you today but he was still your friend, and you shook his hand the next day, he didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” Warren said.
The council also voted unanimously to rename one of the Heflin Parks and Recreation Department baseball fields in memory of Jordan “Noodle” Perry. Perry worked for the Heflin PARD and played on the fields all his life. He died in a traffic accident in October 2016.
The next council meeting, on July 11, will include a public hearing about the closure of a railroad crossing on Almon Street.