St. Paul Police honors fallen officers online

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Every May, St. Paul Police and other Minnesota law enforcement agencies honor those who have died in the line of duty during National Police Week. It's usually a well-attended event with bagpipes, bells tolling and hugging the families of the fallen officers. Not this year. Like almost everything else in society during the cororonavirus pandemic, changes had to be made to keep people safe.

"We looked at different options and there was just no path for us to protect the attendees," said St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell.

He said it was a tough decision to alter such an important and emotional event.

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"Each year, this is a time to take a pause and reflect on the sacrifices the men and women of law enforcement, and our community joins us in that pause and that reflection," Axtell told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "And this year, it's a little more difficult because we're not able to get together and continue to build that bond and solidarity of remembering the fallen heroes in our city."

So, the department had to get creative to honor officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. They've placed a wreath and 32 blue roses in Mears Park in honor of each officer killed in the line of duty in the department's history.

They've also put together an online tribute featuring the faces of all 32 officers.

"So our community members, officers and families can take a look at the officers who have really paid the ultimate sacrifice in St. Paul," Axtell said.