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Thousands Remember Fallen Minn. Police Officer

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- Flashing lights lined Interstate Highway 94 for miles Wednesday morning as thousands of police officers made their way to St. John's University on a mission to pay their respects.

About 2,300 law enforcement officers attended the funeral of Cold Spring-Richmond Police Officer Thomas Decker, who was killed in the line of duty late Nov. 29.

About 9 a.m., squad cars were lined up from the St. John's campus to at least the Stearns County Road 75 exit on Interstate Highway 94.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Spokesman Doug Neville said about 1,000 squad cars arrived at campus.

Officers from throughout the United States and parts of Canada attended Decker's funeral and formed the solemn procession to bring the casket from St. John's Abbey and University Church to St. Nicholas Cemetery in Luxemburg.

Neville said they came from Iowa, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana and Illinois, and from Ontario, Canada. And 15 officers from the Florida State Patrol drove up for the funeral, he said.

Two processions made their way to the cemetery. The first included visiting public safety workers from across the country and Canada. The second, formed of local agencies, brought Decker's casket through Cold Spring and Richmond.

The Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association did most of the planning, Neville said. Messages were sent out to dispatch centers throughout the region and officers from outside that area contacted DPS about participating.

Officers volunteered to handle parking, help attendees find their way and provide other services.

Despite all the planning, the focus remains on honoring the fallen.

"Everything we do is for the family," Neville said. "The family has the final say."

Copyright 2012 - St. Cloud Times, Minn.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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