Thousands expected in Aitkin at funeral for Deputy Steven Sandberg

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Aitkin High School is not holding classes for its 600 students Friday. Instead, it's holding a memorial service for a sheriff's deputy and a couple thousand people who will be in town to honor him.

Thursday's visitation for Deputy Steven Sandberg was attended by hundreds of mourners, FOX 9 reports, including his peers with the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Scott Turner told the station Sandberg, who was killed in the line of duty last weekend, " somebody who was a hometown boy that was so proud to be a part of our family. And we were so proud to have him as a member of our family."

Flags will fly at half staff Friday in Sandberg's honor. Gov. Mark Dayton made that announcement in a proclamation that noted Sandberg served in the Sheriff's Office for 24 years and was a volunteer firefighter, as well as a husband, father, and active member of his church.

Law enforcement officers from around the country were heading to Aitkin for Friday's service. The president of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association, Jeff Beahen, tells KSTP departments from Canada to Texas and from New York to California will be represented. Beahen estimated 2,000 to 3,000 officers will be on hand.

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After the 11 a.m. service at the high school, Sandberg will be buried at Bennetville cemetery, which is about nine miles south of Aitkin on Highway 169.

Two processions are planned. The first will consist of of law enforcement vehicles. It will be followed about 20 minutes later by the second procession, which will include Sandberg's family members and his remains.

Sandberg was remembered in Congress Thursday in a statement read by U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer.

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