Think of them as an extended family that takes over when you need them the most.
“Several of us were at the hospital Sunday morning,” said Lt. Stephen Redfearn, with the Aurora Police Department. “As a law enforcement officer, it doesn't matter where an officer is killed, it affects each of us deeply.”
Redfearn is also the president of the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation.
The non-profit has been around for about a year-and-a-half, created by APD Chief Nick Metz, who brought the idea from his police department in Seattle, where he was also Chief.
“We realized as a department and as a region, we need to respond better to line of duty death in regards to the planning and execution of a dignified memorial service,” Redfearn said. “We are able to bring in a group of experts who have done this countless times to help that agency so they can do what they need to do grieve themselves and support the family.”
“It's very emotionally difficult,” said Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock. “My agency is hurting. My people are hurting.”
Spurlock said he knew he was going to need help organizing Deputy Zackari Parrish's memorial service.
Parrish was killed Sunday in what the Sheriff's called an ambush. Three of his other deputies were injured, as well as a SWAT officer from Castle Rock Police. All but one deputy has been released from the hospital.
“The other real issue was, not only am I responsible for making sure that we get an appropriate funeral for Zack and his family, I have 600 and some employees yet that are hurting,” Spurlock said. “Many of them are recovering from wounds. I just knew that we wouldn't have the resources to do that and to do it the right way.”
Redfearn said The Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation brought in 30 volunteers - including law enforcement and civilian employees from various agencies - who are now helping Douglas County Sheriff properly honor Parrish.
“(They are) as we speak are dealing with multiple different things to get this plan for Friday,” Redfearn said. “It's typically too much for one agency to handle.”
It's important Deputy Parrish is remembered for the man he was.
“He was young energetic young man,” Spurlock said, “that loved his job, loved his family, he was very passionate, he loved the Lord, he brought that with him when he came to work. He wasn't bashful about it. He worked hard, everyone that worked with him didn't mind being with him because he would go first, he would go front in the door. Cops like that, I think the community likes that too. He was kind and gentle, he knew what his job was and he was compassionate about the person he was serving. That is a wonderful find, I'm happy that I had the pleasure of having him under my command for even that short period of time.”
The Sheriff wants the focus of this week to be on Parrish.
“There are so many wonderful things about him, that I gotta make sure that are told properly,” he said.
His extended family from the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation is helping make that possible. People from different law enforcement agencies share their experts to help a department organize a memorial service when it's needed.
The Foundation operates on donations.
Deputy Parrish's memorial service will be held Friday January 5, at Cherry Hills Community Church, 3900 Grace Blvd., in Highlands Ranch. It will begin at 11 a.m. Other details will be announced by the Douglas County Sheriff's office at a later time.
Cherry Hills told 9NEWS they're overwhelmed with calls from the public asking about the funeral. For now, they ask that people respectfully stop calling. They will release more information as they get it.
If anyone wants to drop off flowers, they can be delivered to the church between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.