VAN WERT — The Van Wert post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is bathed in blue through Sunday evening this week as the law enforcement community throughout the state looks for ways to pay tribute to a fallen comrade amid limitations created by the COVID-19 virus.
“We just wanted to send a message of support out for the Springdale Police Department in Hamilton County as they mourn the death of Officer Kaia Grant on March 22, 2020,” said Jonathan Gray, commander of the Van Wert patrol post. “Please keep Officer Grant, her family and her co-workers close to your heart and in your thoughts.”
A memorial has been growing since the 33-year-old Grant was killed by a driver fleeing pursuing officers on Interstate 275 Saturday night. Grant was fatally struck while she and Sgt. Andrew Davis were putting down stop sticks near the Springdale Road exit about 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. Police say 42-year-old Terry Blankenship deliberately crashed into their police cruisers, which then hit the officers.
While hundreds of police officers typically turn out for funerals of a fallen officer or firefighter, officials are discussing what they can do while adhering to pandemic restrictions limiting crowds and requiring a distance of 6 feet between each person.
The Light Ohio Blue group is asking all residents to display blue lights for at least one week in Grant’s honor.
“During this unprecedented time in our state, law enforcement personnel are working to maintain everyone’s safety and during so adding yet another risk to the one of toughest and dangerous jobs in America. Showing support for our men and women in law enforcement and for their families at home will help remind them that their sacrifices and work is appreciated and recognized by their communities that they live and work in,” a statement from Light Ohio Blue said. “The simple act of turning an exterior or window light blue carries a huge message to our state’s law enforcement personnel.”