Law-enforcement peers, U.S. Forest Service employees, dignitaries and friends gathered at the McDowell County High School in Marion, N.C. last week to honor Forest Service law enforcement officer Jason Crisp and his K-9 partner, Maros. Among the memorial service attendees were 75 K-9 officers and their partners who paid tribute to both fallen officers.
U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory were among the thousands who filled the school’s gymnasium.
Crisp and Maros were shot and killed on March 12 pursuing a suspect who, just hours earlier, had allegedly killed his father and step-mother. As they had so many times before, Crisp and Maros were working to keep the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, and surrounding area safe.
“Jason was happy being with his family, and he was happy serving his community,” the Rev. Charles Dicks said. “He cared about the agency, and he cared about his coworkers.”
These were common themes shared by speakers at the ceremony. They described the 38-year-old Crisp as a devoted husband, a loving father of two and a kind-hearted man who helped others.
A Forest Service law enforcement officer for eight years, Crisp was a man of strong faith, whose spirituality served as the foundation for how he approached life. He and Maros performed their duties with honor, courage and dignity.
One of Jason’s family members shared the following story prior to the ceremony.
“The last time I saw Jason, he came to my house and spent a couple of hours with me; but he was upset at me,” the grieving family member said. “I had recently helped another family member with some house work, and Jason was upset that I didn’t call to ask for his help… That’s the type of person Jason was.”
March 12 was Jason’s day off. When he received the call about a murder suspect who was on the loose, he didn’t hesitate to respond. Maros assisted in the call, and it was the last time the two would answer the call of duty. Despite the tragic outcome, the two officers are not separated. Jason was laid to rest on March 17 with Maros’ ashes placed in an urn in his arms.
They will be missed by the people who knew and loved them in western North Carolina.