Community pays respects to fallen officer

Some say society has 'lost respect' for police

INDIANAPOLIS - All day Sunday, individually or in small groups, people stopped by IMPD's north district headquarters to pay their respects to an officer killed in the line of duty Saturday night.

They were firefighters, paramedics and members of the general public, and they were all there to honor Officer Perry Renn, a 22-year veteran of the department.

Renn's squad car sat outside the building, draped with a black cloth and covered in flowers and personal notes.

The crew of Station 10 of the Indianapolis Fire Department tried to bring some comfort to their neighbors in the north district by delivering pizzas to the headquarters.

"It's very difficult," said firefighter Mike Manley. "I mean, we're very close, a lot of friends, and we just look out for each other."

Fellow firefighter Derek Bradburn lamented what he said is a loss of respect for law enforcement.

"I think there's just a lot of people with no respect for the law or other things, and they just do what they want," Bradburn said.

Elizabeth Harber spent a few moments trying to explain to her 5-year-old son Jeffrey why Officer Renn will never come back. She says every day she questions whether someone will try to attack her own police officer husband.

"I think some people have lost respect for our officers, and it's a disappointment," Harber said.

Her husband, Officer Robert Harber, says officers like him do the job for the people they serve.

"You get the good with the bad, just like anywhere else, and you do it for the good people out there who need our help and want our help," he said.

One mother brought her three sons to pay their respects to Renn today, and to make sure they understand the sacrifice he made.

"They need to know they grow up and they show respect to the cops," said Melissa Laffey. "They're the ones that's going to save them if they need help."

In Renn's neighborhood, those who knew him as not just an officer, but as a friend and neighbor, said their hearts are hurting.

"You know, the Lord gives you an instinct, and I just felt like, oh no," said neighbor Sabrina Young. "[Renn's family] are totally devastated as you can expect, and everybody in our neighborhood is totally devastated.

Renn leaves behind a wife and father.

Back at IMPD, Renn's former supervisor, who now works on the police officer support team, said Renn's sense of humor will be missed.

"The way he would act and represent himself, and the things he would say, would always cause everybody to smile and laugh, and so as somebody noted, we were kind of  celebrating his life and I hope that's how we deal with his funeral," said Lt. Tom Black.

Black spent the evening at IMPD's north district roll call checking on the wellbeing of the officers. Around the city, police chaplains were doing the same.

"You never get over losing an officer, but two in one year in the line of duty is just an enormous amount of emotional pressure on a department," said IMPD Chaplain David Coatie.

Renn's family have decided to honor his love of animals by asking for donations in his honor to be made to the Best Friends Animal Society.

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