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The murder of Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis hit close to home for several Taylorsville Police officers last week, as the department assisted with traffic points and water relay for Ellis’ funeral.
Police Chief Toby Lewis received a call Wednesday about a need for some of his officers to help with traffic control during the 23-mile motorcade that would lead to Ellis being buried in Chaplin’s Highview Cemetery. The procession would go from Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, where services were held, to the cemetery.
Four Taylorsville officers were stationed at certain points along the route to help with potential security issues.
“We don’t know why this senseless crime occurred,” Lewis said. “Is it to kill an officer to have a gathering of law enforcement so you can take out a larger number? What’s the situation?”
Those questions led to the increased security presence of which the Taylorsville department played a role. The fact that nobody has been arrested for Ellis’ murder, where he was shot multiple times at the exit 34 ramp on the Bluegrass Parkway, made the situation even murkier.
“You don’t have a known perpetrator,” Lewis said. “You don’t know what you’re looking for at this point… With this situation, we’ve got nothing to go on, so any person along the route could have been the shooter.”
Spencer County Sheriff Buddy Stump said he offered the services of his department as well, but further assistance wasn’t needed.
“We offered our manpower,” he said. “I told them anything we could do, we would be at their disposal, but they didn’t need anything else.”
In addition to the Taylorsville police department assisting with traffic points, the officers also aided with the water supply for the massive amount of people attending Ellis’ funeral.
Mike Woodard with the Nelson County Fire Department contacted Lewis the day of the funeral to ask if he could pull together resources for the service at the cemetery. Lewis contacted Country Mart to ask for 30 cases of water, then immediately realized the sheer number of attendants would require more than that. Lewis doubled his request to 60 cases, which Country Mart obliged, free of charge.
Handing out hot water on a day that reached 86-degree temperatures, however, was not an option, and Lewis contacted Mic-Zee’s for a truckload of ice. The ice was also donated free of charge.
The Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department assisted in bringing the water supply.
Spencer County EMS also provided assistance on Thursday, according to Director Jeff Coulter. Coulter formerly worked for Nelson County EMS and had met Ellis during his time there.
According to Lewis, 960 marked police vehicles were in attendance at the funeral, not including emergency services or unmarked police cars. Nearly all the water provided was gone by the end of the day.
Lewis said he saw at least three officers “hit the ground” from standing at attention for so long in the heat. Although many officers wanted to stay at attention, most eventually accepted water because of the day’s heat.
Helping out with the funeral was a no-brainer for the police department, according to Lewis, as the shooting happened so close to the Spencer County line.
“It (the site of the shooting) is as close to Taylorsville as it is from the location to his (Ellis’) work in Bardstown,” he said. “It’s virtually the same distance. People are thinking it’s way over in Bardstown but realistically, it’s Bloomfield… It’s close.”
The investigation into Ellis’ murder is ongoing. Lewis said his department is listening to any credible tip they receive, but the investigation is being headed by the Kentucky State Police. To provide information, you can text a tip to 67283.