Updated: 08/04/2014 5:11 AM
Created: 08/03/2014 8:08 PM KSTP.com
By: Stephen Tellier
Ever since Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick was killed during a routine traffic stop on Wednesday, thoughts and prayers have been coming from every corner of the community. And on Sunday, they came from a group of women who know all too well the risks that come with being a cop.
When a tragedy such as this strikes a community, there are so many questions: "How could this happen?" "Why would someone do this?" But for some, the most important question is: "What can we do to help?"
The Minnesota auxiliary of Wives Behind the Badge is already working on that answer.
He was a husband, a father, and a defender of a south metro suburb. Forty-seven years of life, 26 years of marriage, 19 years of service to his department -- and one unfathomable tragedy.
"We really are one big, blue line family. When one of us is hurting, it's all of us that's hurting," said Melanie Snyder, the director of the Minnesota auxiliary of Wives Behind the Badge.
And with the flag of the fallen officer flying outside, the group of officers' wives set about organizing support for Patrick's family.
"That could be me. I could be in Michelle Patrick's spot," Snyder said.
"It's just devastating to us -- something like that, that's so senseless. It's hard, and unfortunately, it can happen to any of us at any time," said Lisa Mackall, whose husband, also an officer, was responding to a call in 2012 when he was involved in a serious accident.
He survived, but suffered a significant brain injury.
"Time freezes. You think that nothing is happening around you, and that sometimes takes months to go away," Mackall said. "It's such a state of shock when you have these situations."
They know the hurt, but they also know how to heal.
"Just support and love and patience," Snyder said.
Wives Behind the Badge is already collecting quilts and stuffed animals, and making necklaces with replicas of Patrick's badge, to give to the family. They're also organizing a school supply drive for Patrick's daughters - one bound for high school, and the other is off to college in just a few weeks.
These things will not make the Patrick family whole again. But a whole community is showing that, in a way, we are all part of the Patrick family.
"We are just to thankful for what we're seeing today, which is just an outpouring of support for this family, because they deserve it. They have lost somebody that they can never get back," Mackall said.
Mackall said her family still looks through the boxes of cards and well-wishes they received - many from complete strangers - after her husband's accident. She said even a gesture as simple as that goes a long way.
If you'd like to help Wives Behind the Badge, you can connect with them on Facebook.
The group will be releasing more details about that school supply drive in the coming days.
Officer Patrick's visitation will take place from 2 to 8 p.m. at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in West St. Paul on Tuesday. His funeral is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the same location.