MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police across Minnesota run toward dangerous scenes every day. On Saturday night, fallen officers were remembered in a ceremony illuminated by blue candles at the State Capitol.
It’s been 11 months since the heart of Ilana Pollitz’s husband, St. Louis Park Police officer Mike Pollitz, suddenly stopped beating while on duty.
Since then, she has been surrounded by officers and members of Minnesota Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).
“Without them I honestly cannot tell you that I would be where I am,” Pollitz said.
Support groups and counseling are two ways in which COPS has helped Pollitz. But she was just one of many who gathered at the Peace Officers Memorial Saturday.
“When Mike passed away I thought about moving back home to Chicago; but because of LEMA and MN COPS — the support and family and friends I have here — I decided to stay,” Pollitz said.
The gathering was more than just a ceremony. It was a promise to survivors and family members that the community will never forget the sacrifice of those officers.
During the ceremony, songs filled the air with hope. Officers and those who count on their bravery listened as seven names were read — those of the Minnesota peacekeepers who died while on duty most recently.
The blue light represents peace, and Pollitz and other survivors hope people display blue lights to show support for fallen officers.
Across the country, 100 peace officers died while serving this year. That’s down from last year, including here in Minnesota, where no officer has died in the line of duty since last December.