A little church in West St. Paul has been a hub of activity this week as the community prepares to host thousands of mourners paying tribute to a fallen police officer.
The funeral service for Officer Scott Patrick is scheduled for 11 a.m. at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church.
FOX 9 reports that during Tuesday's visitation at the church where Patrick was married 26 years ago mourners lined up to greet family members.
A community prepares
St. Stephen's only holds a few hundred people but a few thousand are expected to be on hand to pay their respects to the Mendota Heights officer who was fatally shot during a traffic stop last week.
Most of the mourners will watch the event on television screens in overflow areas and will line the eight mile route of the funeral procession to Acacia Park Cemetery.
The Pioneer Press reports the flurry of preparations included a Boy Scout troop that meets at St. Stephen's who were busy pulling weeds, laying down mulch, and planting American flags in the area.
The Pioneer Press says residents in the area are scrambling to get ahold of a popular window sticker that features Patrick's police badge wrapped in a blue ribbon with the date of his death."It's just incredible to see the community pull together on this," Debra Miller, a resident of West St. Paul told the newspaper.
Gov. Mark Dayton announced that all U.S. and Minnesota flags will fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Wednesday.
FOX says two State Patrol helicopters will fly low over the proceedings.
And there will be bells. The Pioneer Press says the St. Paul Police Historical Society is bringing a huge bell it will ring 22 times – one for each year of Patrick's service in law enforcement. Since 2009 the group has been ringing the bell at funerals for police officers killed in the line of duty.
Altogether, the number of Minnesota officers killed stands at 272. The Star Tribune reports a bell at Acacia Park Cemetery will toll that number of times beginning just before 1 p.m.
The program for the service was released Tuesday.
Town Square Television, the community cable TV service that serves West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, and several other suburbs, will broadcast Patrick's funeral service in that area.
The service will also be shown on a YouTube channel. An announcement from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety says the cable TV department of the city of Coon Rapids is providing the live stream.
Officer Patrick leaves behind a wife and two teenaged daughters. Two funds are raising money for the family. Affinity Plus Credit Union is matching contributions to its fund up to $10,000.
A campaign at GoFundMe.com had raised about $34,000 in less than a week.