- Sunday should have been the day Tristate police officers could remove the black bands from their badges, the end of a 30-day mourning period for two fallen Cincinnati officers.
But the black bands will stay another month, this time for rookie Covington Officer Mike Partin.
On the force just 15 months, he is presumed to have drowned early Sunday in the cold Ohio River after falling from the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge. He fell into the water wearing a black band across his own silver badge.
The death, though in very different circumstances, again rocked Greater Cincinnati.
''My prayers go out to the family and friends of the officer,'' said Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls. ''In the course of a month, we've lost three officers killed in the line of duty.
''And his death reminds us again that the men and women who serve our communities as law enforcement officers make a tremendous sacrifice, and for some, that means their lives.''
Covington Commissioner Jim Eggemeier likened the search scene around the Waterfront restaurant Sunday morning, with dozens of somber officers milling around, to a funeral home visitation.
''I feel that we're a family and a team,'' he said, ''and there's definitely a sense of loss on my part.''
Assistant Covington Police Chief Steve Schmidt marked his 24th year on the force last week and noted he hoped to finish his career without an incident like the Dec. 5 shootings of Cincinnati Officer Daniel Pope and Spc. Ronald Jeter. But he was awakened about 3 a.m. Sunday to learn one of his third-shift charges, a 25-year-old, was believed to be dead.
NKU safety director Fred Otto and his wife, Jodi, spruce up the Northern Kentucky Police Memorial in Covington.
(Yoni Pozner photo)
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''It's just not a call you ever want to get,'' he said.
The news hit hard with Barb Cook, who works with officers as liaison for the city's neighborhood watch program: ''He deserves as much admiration for doing his job as if he'd been killed in any other way.'' The same support Covington showed Cincinnati last month - attending funerals and expressing sympathy - will be returned, Cincinnati police spokesman Lt. Tim Schoch said.
''This police officer is a hero,'' said Officer Keith Fangman, the new president of Cincinnati's Fraternal Order of Police. ''He was attempting to help another police officer, and the end result was every cop's worst nightmare.
''I think it's an absolute tragedy that another police officer has paid the ultimate price.''
Gregory A. Hall and Tanya Bricking contributed to this report.
Rookie looked, acted like vet