Ind. Gov. Pence Declares “Period Of Mourning” For Fallen Officers
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Governor Mike Pence has directed flags across the state lowered to half-staff as the state mourns the loss of three police officers killed in the line of duty last week.
Indianapolis Municipal Police Department Officer Perry Renn was shot dead by a suspect in an alleyway Saturday. On Sunday morning, Gary Police Officer Jeffrey Westerfield was gunned down as he sat in his patrol car. Tipton County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Calvin died in a vehicle crash as he was heading to an emergency call.
Pence declared an official period of mourning starting Tuesday to honor the extraordinary loss of the three Hoosier law officers. The period will extend through the final services for Renn and Westerfeld.
“Every Hoosier feels the loss of these fallen officers and stands with their families and communities during this week of heartbreak. It is altogether fitting that every community in Indiana show solidarity, support and prayers for these officers and their families during this time,” said Pence.
“As such, I am ordering the flags to be lowered to half-staff statewide in honor of the sacrifice each of these officers made while serving their fellow Hoosiers in the line of duty. I urge every Hoosier to remember the service and sacrifice of these men and their families during this official period of mourning.”
Pence was travelling to Gary Tuesday to meet with Westerfield’s family.
Renn’s killing is prompting one state senator to take action. Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) says he plans to re-introduce a bill calling for harsher penalties for criminals using guns.
“People do not feel safe in their own neighborhoods, and we cannot sit by and let this senseless violence continue. Stopping gun crime in Indianapolis – and other Indiana cities and towns – is going to require serious action at the state, local and community levels,” Merritt said.
Merritt’s last proposal would punish any person using a gun in a violent crime with an automatic 20-year sentence. Previous bills ended up giving judges the option to add 20 years, but did not make it mandatory.