Instead of putting up a traditional Christmas tree this holiday season, a sheriff’s department in Indiana has chosen to set up a special tree in honor of every law enforcement officer who died in the line of duty this year, including local Deputy Jacob Pickett, R.I.P.
“This was an opportunity for us to honor those folks that have given their lives in the line of duty and paid that ultimate sacrifice, because it hit close to home with us this year when we lost one of our own this year on March 2,” Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said Saturday on “Fox & Friends.”
Pickett was reportedly killed while chasing a criminal suspect.
“Jake was the leader of our canine team,” Nielsen added. “He was a warrior, and he will be forever missed for his infectious smile and his laugh.”
“But most of all we’ve never forget his dedication for protecting the citizens of this county, that he gave his life protecting them, just as these 142 officers behind us have done.”
Featured behind the sheriff was a Christmas tree with 142 ornaments that each contained the handwritten name, rank and end of watch date for every officer killed in the line of duty this year.
Listen to Nielsen’s full statement below:
“The goal here is to make sure that we pay the ultimate tribute to these officers that have given their lives to hold that thin blue line,” Nielsen said. “And it’s so important for us to show that gratitude, since it now hits so close to home for us.”
He added that following the Christmas season, he intends to ship each ornament to the specific police department where the officer had served.
“This idea came from a few Boone County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers who, after losing one of their own, thought it would be a good idea to honor all officers nationwide who have died in the line of duty this year,” a formal press release from Nielsen’s department reads.
“After the approval from Sheriff Mike Nielsen, the communications officers, along with BSCO Chaplains, made quick work of the shrine. Each blue (ornament) was hung with care and the tree was topped with an angel.”
December 14, 2018 – Media Release
Christmas Tree in Sheriff’s Office Lobby Honors Fallen Officers
The 9’ tall tree is…
The department reportedly put the tree up on Dec. 7 with 137 ornaments. Since then an additional five ornaments have been added due to more deaths across the country.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks police deaths, as of Saturday, a total of 143 officers had died in the line of duty.
While speaking with Fox on Saturday, Nielsen also addressed the anti-police culture that spawned across the country during former President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House.
During Obama’s tenure, it became commonplace for left-wing legislators, Hollywood celebrities and “progressive” activists to disparage the police for their alleged racism and brutality.
The movement began in 2014 following the death of an 18-year-old black Missouri man at the hands of a St. Louis police officer. Though the evidence later showed that this shooting had been justified, Obama and others seized on the tragedy to peddle an anti-cop narrative.
“They just gotta realize that we are people, that our lives matter as well,” Nielsen said, referencing those who hate the police. “Every life in this country matters, and we’ve got to make sure that we send that message out there that we have to be unified in facing this evil that is facing our world today.”
But that hasn’t stopped social media users from reminding the world that blue lives do indeed matter.
Indiana county installed a blue Christmas tree with 137 blue ornaments to honor the 137 police officers killed in the line of duty this year, including Boone County’s own Deputy Jacob Pickett.
Blue lives matter 💙
— Michaela Capone (@livingcapone) December 12, 2018
Blue Lives Matter ! ! ! Indiana county installs blue Christmas tree in honor of officers killed in the line of dutyhttps://t.co/AfSl1G5p0n
— James Wilson (@txrebel1960) December 15, 2018
Indiana county installs blue Christmas tree in honor of officers killed in the line of dutyhttps://t.co/OCALLGNAdX
Blue Lives Matter!👍🇺🇸🙏🏻
— John donlevy (@Johndonlevy1) December 13, 2018
— THEMOOSEISONTHELOOSE (@JeffPlunkett14) December 15, 2018
Boone County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Joni Scott agrees.
“That’s a life. That’s a life that matters. That’s a chair that’s empty. That’s a car that’s not being driven. That is an incredible hero that’s no longer walking our streets, so it meant something,” she said to Fox about her office’s Christmas tree.
“It means a lot to all of us – we were all very close. He was a wonderful officer, and it’s our way of honoring him and the other 136 officers that have been killed this year,” dispatch officer Mike Gideon added.
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