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Mendota Heights to mark its 'darkest day': One year since Officer Scott Patrick's death

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A sad occasion will be marked Thursday in the Twin Cities suburb of Mendota Heights - the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of Officer Scott Patrick in the line of duty.

Several events are planned for "the darkest day in the history of Mendota Heights," as city officials call it, including a candlelight vigil that is expected to draw hundreds of people.

Patrick, 47, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Mendota Heights on July 30, 2014. The shooter, Brian Fitch, was the subject of a daylong manhunt which ended in St. Paul when Fitch and police exchanged gunfire. Fitch was shot eight times and then arrested.

Fitch was convicted in February of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Thousands of people turned out to mourn for Patrick at his funeral. He was a 19-year veteran of the Mendota Heights police force - its longest serving member - and the only one of its officers to die in the line of duty.

Thursday's scheduled events

Noon: Dedication ceremony for the new Officer Scott Patrick Memorial Highway. A portion of Highway 149 (also known as Dodd Road) in Mendota Heights is being renamed in Patrick's honor.

The dedication ceremony will take place at the former J&A's Garage at 1010 Dodd Road, according to the Remembering Scott Patrick Facebook page. The new highway signs will be unveiled at that time. More details are here.

Lawmakers approved a measure in May to rename the highway in Patrick's honor, and to rename a portion of Highway 36 in Maplewood after Sgt. Joseph Bergeron, who was killed in 2010 by a carjacking suspect.

12:20 p.m.: A moment of silence will be held; it was at that exact time last year that Patrick was killed.

8 p.m.: A candlelight vigil will take place at Market Square in the Village at Mendota Heights, which is located at Highway 110 and Dodd Road. The event is open to the public and candles will be provided. More details are here.

Officers to conduct warrant sweep

In addition to the remembrance services, law enforcement agencies in the metro area will conduct a warrant sweep Thursday to coincide with the anniversary of Patrick's death.

The Dakota County Sheriff's Office is leading the sweep, saying it's an appropriate way to mark the occasion because Fitch was a convicted drug dealer who had outstanding felony warrants, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"The officers who put their lives on the line every day believe that the best way for them to honor a fallen hero is by doing the work they all swore an oath to do," Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie said in a statement.

Local police forces in Dakota County will participate in the sweep, as well the Ramsey County sheriff's office, the state Department of Corrections Fugitive Unit and the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Unit, the Pioneer Press notes.

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