BANGOR – Following last Saturday’s capture of Corporal Eugene Cole’s accused killer, the focus of law enforcement officers has turned to Monday’s funeral services for their fallen colleague.
When Corporal Cole was shot and killed in the early morning hours of April 25, he became the 85th law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty. But for cops in Maine, being fatally shot while on the job is rare. In fact, it was 1989 when the last fatal shooting of a Maine police officer happened.
Because of how the death occurred, the slain corporal’s funeral service is going to have a significant response from police agencies and first responders.
“The funeral will be held at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, which holds anywhere from 5,800 people to 8,000, depending on how the seating is arranged,” said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.
“So, we’ve received quite a few phone calls from officers in the state of Maine and some from across the country. I know there was talk of some officers from Alaska flying in as well,” McCausland said.
Bangor Police Department spokesman Sgt. Wade Betters stressed that the role of city police will be strictly be to support members of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.
“We basically want the officers who knew him and the families and friends and neighbors that really knew him well to be able to sit and participate in the funeral,” Betters said. “Most likely, traffic through downtown Bangor will be congested before and after the funeral. There’s going to be a huge presence of law enforcement officers, many from away.”
Betters also says security will be tight.
“That is always in our mind anytime we have a mass gathering of people, whether it be police officers or anybody,” he said. “But we are working to ensure that this will be a safe and undisturbed ceremony.”
Last week, people from the towns surrounding Norridgewock showed their support for the Cole family. On Monday, people from across Maine, across New England and across the nation will converge on the Cross Insurance Center to pay tribute and honor the life of Corporal Cole.