Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Deputy Sheriff John R. Klem, III

Forrest County Sheriff's Office, Mississippi

End of Watch Monday, September 30, 1985

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Deputy Sheriff John R. Klem, III

Thank you for your service and rest in peace always knowing that your service and sacrifice will never be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 30, 2020

I was the first officer on scene that night and what happened to Deputy Klem could have happened to any of us. While searching for the suspect later that same morning , I was riding with Former MHP legend Lee Shelbourn “due to burning my units engine up while chasing the suspect as he left the scene driving Klem’s unit” Shelbourn and I located the suspect in a wooded area and made the arrest. I was a 2 year rookie then, now just recently retired but I haven’t forgotten any details about that night and because of that incident and the unthinkable circumstances surrounding Deputy Klems death we were able to devote countless training hours in hopes to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again. There was also a police training video made called “ It can’t happen to me”. Deputy Klem was a great man and a Law-enforcement hero.

Former Director of Training Capt. Ezell
Hattiesburg Police Dept. retired

August 19, 2019

I worked with John at JCJC and he was an amazing individual: teacher, pastor, craftsman, police officer. I still have custom frames that he build for me. My husband took every class John taught at Jones. John Klem is the reason my husband finally pursued his passion for history and has been a high school teacher for the last 17 years. To quote Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" John Klem touched many lives. He is still missed.

Rebecca Patrick
Friend and colleague

May 18, 2018

Mr. Klem was my American History professor. He always smelled like pipe tobacco. He had a very dry sense of humor. He loved his family. He was very proud of his wife who has a beautiful singing voice. You could talk to him about anything and he would really listen to what you were telling him. When I graduated I became a social worker with Child Protective Services. I always tried to follow his example and really listen to a persons story. Thank you, Mr. Klem.

Sharon Stagnaro-Purcella

January 23, 2018

RIP Deputy. Our prayers and thoughts from N.M. for your family and department.

Chief of Police (Retired)

September 30, 2015

Your sacrifice will never be forgotten! Thank you for your dedicated service to the Citizens of and Forrest County! Continue to Rest in Peace Deputy Klem.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of GOD." Matthew 5:9

Corporal Tony Dunn
Mississippi Highway Patrol, Troop D

September 30, 2015

My name is James Peace and I lived down the street from the Clem family for a short time in the seventies. One of my favorite things to do was watch Deputy Clem, my friend James dad, catch drivers running the stop sign at the end of the block. It inspired me to become a law enforcement officer. Their yard was the place we all played football everyday.

James Peace Retired

September 24, 2015

Deputy Klem, I wish I had been able to know you. It is obvious you had a very positive impact on your son's life. I know he makes your proud every day. Seeing the memorials to your memory I know you were a much loved man and there are many who miss you. My own father, in addition to being a retired firefighter, is a peace officer and I am very proud of his dedication to law enforcement so I know the pride your son feels about you. I want to thank you for your bravery and service. May God bless you and your family as you help keep them safe.

Erin Reynolds
Macedonia VFD

May 13, 2015

Take care of Hattiesburg PD Officers Tate and Deen up there Dad.
I still miss you.

Captain John Klem
Forrest County Sheriffs Office Hattiesburg, Ms.

May 12, 2015

Great and loveable American History teacher at Jones County Junior College around 1983-1984. Thanks for your influence

Tony Mullican

May 16, 2014

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 27th anniversary year of your death.

Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Lasater Loya
mom of fallen Pittsburg (CA) officer Larry Lasater

August 13, 2013



January 18, 2013

You have influenced my life far more than I can express.

Patrick Moore, LPN

Patrick Moore
Courtyards Community Living Center

November 1, 2012

Sir, I didn't know you, but I do know your son. In fact, I'm honored to call him both a friend and a brother officer. Thank you for keeping our county safe. God Bless.

Officer Ben McCoy (former)
NSA New Orleans/DOD Police

May 15, 2012

I do not know this man, but I do respect all law enforcement, they have a very tough job as well as a danger one every time they get a call or respond they put their life on the line every day and are in arms way not knowing what to expect or whats ahead of them........ I pray that his family will get through all the tough times that lie ahead for them, they will miss him so much and I know in my heart he is in good hands and in a better place...... He will be missed by all who knew him God bless his family and nay he RIP...........

JUST A person that cares

May 15, 2012

I did know John, He not only worked for the Sheriff department, and as a Professor at JCJC, He was also a Minister of the Gospel (which is a full time job). He was, and is, an inspiration to all who knew him and this world is better for his time here. Although he is missed, without a doubt, he is in a better place. RIP

Charles E Csaszar TSgt\Ret USAF
Friend and Church Member

May 14, 2012

Officer Klem, I never met you but I can tell you were a great man, husband, father, and public servant. I have had the great privledge of knowing your son John who is currently serving as you had. I know you watch over him and his family every day and I know they can feel your love and presence. If my friend John is any indication of who you were, then I know we would have been great friends. God Bless you.

Firefighter Ryan Swartz
Petal Fire Dept

January 11, 2012

Deputy Klem III,
I never got to meet you personally, but I do know your son, John IV. I know you are up there watching over him and as proud as a father could be of his son. I've never known a member of the law enforcement community to be more professional or more of what a person thinks a deputy should be than your son. I consider it a privilege to be a friend of his. Thank you, sir and all members of law enforcement who have given their lives so that us citizens can live the free life of an American in safety.

Anonymous Friend
December 25, 2011

December 25, 2011

RIP.Your tour of duty cut short but you will never be forgotten by all those who love you.


October 4, 2008

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

November 29, 2007

John, it's been a long time, but I have never forgoten and never will. You would be very proud of John. He is a fine Deputy and a great friend. It is truly an honor to have worked with both of you.

Lt. Scott Morgan
Forrest County S.O. and Hattiesburg Police Dept.

November 29, 2007

I knew Mr. Klem through his son, James. I remember him coming to our football games to provide security and how nice and friendly he was to everyone. As the son of a law enforcement officer, I feared for my dad's life many times. We owe Mr. Klem and all the officers listed on this page a huge debt of gratitude for their sacrifice and the work they gave their lives for. God Bless the Klem family.

Hal Marx

June 11, 2007

I never had the honor of meeting my Papaw John Klem but from what I have heard he was a really great man. I only wish I had met him. I am sure he left a deep loving mark in the hearts of all that he knew. I know I would have loved him. We miss you Papaw!

Katrina Klem

May 10, 2007

Mr. Klem was one of the best, if not the best teacher I ever had. Do you know how hard it is to make Western Civ. interesting? Well..he did. It was obvious he loved what he was doing, and loved helping us all make it through our early years of college.

I became a teacher in 1985. Oddly enough that was the year Mr. Klem lost his life. I hope somehow , my teaching would make him proud. I learned a lot from him, and I hope I've given some of that back.

To the Klem family..thanks for sharing your father and husband with all of us. He MADE and is making a big difference in this world..even today.

Terri Lawson
Mr. Klem's student at JCJC

April 26, 2007

I know John R. Klem IV he is a very good man to work with. He is very devoted to his job as he works for the forrest county sheirff's office. john keep up the good work making forrest county a better place to live.

March 27, 2007

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.