IDOC represented at Nebraska officer's funeral

Photo of fallen officer
Omaha Police Office Kerrie Orozco
By Matthew Thomas, Southern Idaho Honor Guard Commander

Tyler Nicodemus and I had the opportunity to attend the funeral service for Kerrie Orozco on May 26 in Omaha, Nebraska.  

She was tragically killed last week in the line of duty last week and our Director requested that we sent two Honor Guard members to represent our agency and state. 

Officer Orozco worked for the Omaha Police department and was currently assigned to their gang unit. On May 20, 2015 she was working a fugitive recovery case and was attempting to arrest a convicted felon who had a warrant. 

The subject fired upon officers and she was struck in the chest just above her ballistic vest. She passed away at an area hospital a short time later. She was only 29 years old. 

This was the last shift before Officer Orozco was scheduled to take her maternity leave. She gave birth to her daughter prematurely on February 17, and she was scheduled to come home from the neonatal instensive care unit the day after her mother was killed. 

It was heartbreaking to hear that her original due date was May 26th, the day of her funeral. 

The list of ways that Officer Orozco was a great person and officer is too lengthy to write without multiple pages. There is a lot of information available on the internet and her department's Facebook page if you wanted to read about the ways she served and gave back to the community. 

This is a bold reminder of the dangers that we face in this profession. It highlights the fact that the worst things can happen to the best people, and that they could occur at the very worst of times. 

Our IDOC fugitive recovery unit engages in these types of warrant services almost every day. Probation and Parole Officers in the districts also conduct these types of arrests regularly. 

As I wright this, I am preparing for SCOAP tonight with Caldwell Police. The whole idea is to conduct high-risk searches, arrests and warrant services on offenders who are not compliant with felony supervision or who have absconded. 

I am reminded that what happened in Nebraska and Northern Idaho recently could very realistically happen to one of our P&P officers. 

Our prison staff also put themselves in harm's way every day. Our staff earn the respect and dignity associated with the law enforcement profession every shift, every day. 

As the Honor Guard commander, I can tell you that my team is prepared to render honors at these types of funerals, but I honestly hope that day does not come for our agency. 

Today I am reminded to hug the ones I love a little tighter, appreciate the brothers and sisters that I work with a little more and to keep myself alert in the field. 

Please stay safe out there and be proud of the service that you provide the community. 

I have attached a few photos of the funeral service.  

I would like to say that the Omaha Police Department did a fantastic job organizing this service. The support from other law enforcement agencies and the community was astounding.

The funeral procession was a line of marked vehicles that took over an hour and a half to pass. The public lined the streets for miles with signs of support. It was one of the most touching things I have ever seen. 

We were greeted warmly and thanked for attending everywhere we went by other officers and the public. 

I will even share that our return flight from Omaha to Denver was delayed, and that it was going to cause us to miss our connection from Denver to Boise. We were going to be stuck for another night.

When we inquired about the fate of our luggage that had our duty weapons in them, the staff became aware of why we were there. Within minutes one of the Southwest employees found us and told Tyler and me that they were going to delay the flight from Denver to Boise. When we asked for how long she said "until you guys are on it, we want to make sure you get home tonight." 

It was amazing. Several of the airline staff thanked us for our service along the way.We are very proud to have been sent to represent you all at this service.

I wanted to share the appreciation that was expressed to us while we were there. 

Story published: 05/28/2015
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