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Donations provide funding to send Deputy Dewey's family to memorial

Christopher Dewey

FARGO - The family of a fallen Mahnomen County (Minn.) sheriff's deputy will be able to attend a ceremony honoring him next month thanks to donations.

Deputy Christopher Dewey's name will be called in a ceremony at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.

He died in August 2010, nearly 18 months after being shot while responding to a report of a drunken driver in Mahnomen.

Family members wanted to attend but didn't believe they'd be able to afford the trip to Washington during National Police Week, May 15-21, according Hannah Bergman, Dewey's sister-in-law.

In a Caringbridge journal posting today, Bergman said donations over a four-day stretch provided enough donations for all family members to attend the ceremony.

"I will never be able to thank all of you enough or explain what it means to the family to see the incredible outpouring of support," Bergman wrote. "I truly cannot express how grateful I am that all of you were willing to help. Thank you."

Any excess funds will be donated to the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) organization in Dewey's honor.

"The money that we donate to them will be used to help the families of the fallen officers from 2011," Bergman said. "The funds will be allocated for their travel expenses so those families may also experience National Police Week.

"If any would like to continue to donate you may do so. You will be helping the next family in need."

Last November, a grand jury indicted Thomas Lee Fairbanks, 34, of Mahnomen, who faces numerous charges, including first-degree murder.

A four-week trial is scheduled to start Aug. 1 in Crookston.

Dewey was shot in the head and stomach on Feb. 18, 2009, while responding to a report of drunken driving. He died nearly 18 months later.

A second man, Daniel Kurt Vernier, pleaded guilty in 2009 for failing to render assistance to Dewey. A judge ordered Vernier, who is expected to testify against Fairbanks at trial, to serve a two-year prison term.

Fairbanks faces a life sentence without parole if convicted.