Maplewood Police Chief helps Mendota Heights cope with loss - KMSP-TV

Maplewood Police Chief helps Mendota Heights cope with loss

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WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

It will be a somber week as thousands of law enforcement members are preparing to attend services for fallen Mendota Heights Officer Scott Patrick. Retired Maplewood Police Chief Dave Thomalla knows the agony and loss of laying to rest an officer gunned down in the line of duty.

"Things in your career come and go, but an incident like this you never forget, and you shouldn't forget,” Thomalla said. His nightmare unfolded four years ago.

"You have to get on with life as normal as possible. But life will never be normal again,” he added. Thomalla was Police Chief in Maplewood when his former partner, Joe Bergeron was ambushed and killed May 1, 2010.

"I used to use the analogy, think about losing a family member, think about the worst day of your life. This fits both categories,” he added.

Now retired from law enforcement, Thomalla uses that experience of burying an officer to help departments fight through their own grief.

"You shouldn't forget that officer who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Thomalla said.

The last few days, his attention has been focused on Mendota Heights. On Tuesday, friends, family and fellow officers will begin the excruciating process of saying goodbye to Officer Scott Patrick.

Michelle Patrick: 'We are one big family that is truly hurting right now'

Kevin Torgerson is a commander of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association and is responsible for providing honor guards for fallen officers.

"There's someone with him 24-7 all the way through the time he is placed at the cemetery,” Torgerson said.

Until the burial, a member of law enforcement will stand guard over Officer Patrick's body -- so far, at the hospital, the medical examiner's office and now, the funeral home.

"We look at it as two families – the officer's family, which is truly the most important, hen the law enforcement family,” Torgerson said. "The family gets a sense of security and knowing he is not by himself."

Visitation, funeral set

The funeral for Officer Scott Patrick will be held Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. at St. Stephens Lutheran Church (1575 Charlton Street, West. St. Paul). Visitation will be held at the church on Tuesday, Aug. 5 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The final procession route is now set and officials will share those details on Monday so the entire community can line the streets of Mendota Heights and West St. Paul to say goodbye.

 

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