The police department here, still grieving the loss of an officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty last month, received an expression of thanks Tuesday from local businesses.
During the afternoon shift change, gift certificates from Richmond restaurants were distributed to officers in the police department’s roll-call room. Steve Rosenberg, owner of multiple rental apartments in Richmond, gathered the gift certificates from the restaurants.
“This town appreciates you all more than you can imagine,” Rosenberg told the assembled officers.
Tuesday’s presentation was a preface to a community-wide event Sunday called RPD Appreciation Day. On that day, citizens are asked to donate at least $1 at various locations around town to raise money for the family of officer Daniel Ellis.
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Ellis, 33, was shot Nov. 4 while investigating an attempted robbery at a Richmond gas station. He died two days later. Four people were arrested and charged in the slaying and robbery.
Between noon and 6 p.m. Sunday, residents may make donations at Logan’s Roadhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, Golden Corral and possibly other locations. “Every penny’s going to the family,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg, who grew up in Mount Sterling and now splits his time between Richmond and Florida, organized RPD Appreciation Day because he wanted to do something for the department and the Ellis family in the wake of the officer’s death.
“If you don’t have officers like this doing their day-to-day job, putting their lives on the line, you don’t have a community,” Rosenberg said in an interview last week.
Richmond police Chief Larry Brock said the department has received calls, cards, letters and condolences “from all over the country. It shows that the majority of people in this country support the police.”
The gift certificates will go to the more than 65 employees of the Richmond department, whether they are in uniform or not, Brock said. Each certificate had a face value of $47.50; Ellis’ badge number was 457.
Uniformed officers said they appreciated the gesture.
“It’s meant a lot to all of us to have community support,” said officer Josh Hale. “Obviously it’s a tragedy, and we don’t ever want to take away from the fact that it is a tragedy.”
Said Sgt Cathy Eaves: “It’s much appreciated. We appreciate everybody in the community and all that they’re doing for us right now.”
Also on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr of Lexington spoke about Ellis on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“His death is a tragic reminder of the dangerous, selfless, and heroic work done by law enforcement officers and first responders each and every day,” Barr said.