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Police gather for Dewey funeral

Law enforcement officers from hundreds of agencies gathered this morning for the funeral of Christopher L. Dewey,

a Mahnomen County deputy sheriff who died Aug. 9 after being shot 18

months ago.

They began to fill the Living Word Christian Center parking lot in

Brooklyn Park shortly after 7 a.m., four hours before the funeral

service was to begin.

About 100 Dewey family members were to be joined by up to 2,000 law

enforcement officers and others for the service, open to the public.

Burial at Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis was to be private.

Dewey's sister-in-law, Hannah Bergman, was to deliver the eulogy and

Mahnomen County Deputy Sheriff Chad Peterson was to share memories of

his former law enforcement partner.

On Feb. 18, 2009, Dewey was shot once in the head and twice in the

stomach while investigating a report of a drunken driver in Mahnomen.

After the shooting, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and other medical


Dewey was hospitalized in early July for an infection and in mid-July

was placed on hospice care after a lung collapsed.

He underwent several surgeries and spent months at a Colorado

rehabilitation center. While there, the family received support from

Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette, Colo.

The Rev. Jim Burgen of Flatirons was to deliver the funeral message and

Chaplain M.C. Williams of the Fairplay, Colo., Police Department was to

assist at the cemetery.

The police flavor of the service was to be evident throughout. Sgt. Tim

Eggebraaten was to sing "I Can Only Imagine" and "Amazing Grace" as law

enforcement officers filled the pews.

Living Word's pastor, the Rev. Mac Hammond, hosted the service. It was

held in his church because a Dewey family member attends there, there is

plenty of seating (2,700 in the sanctuary), the church has ample parking

and it is involved police-support activities.

After the service, hundreds of law enforcement vehicles were to be part

of a motorcade to the cemetery. People lining the streets could expect

the motorcade to last 20 minutes.

In that motorcade were to be motorcycles ridden by member of the Patriot

Guard, a group that supports military and law enforcement personnel who

die in the line of duty.

Among hundreds at the service were to be all 20 members of the Mahnomen

County sheriff's office. Officers from nearby counties were filling in


Visitation preceded the 11 a.m. funeral at the church, with a slide show

about Dewey's life. The service and other ceremonies, including a police

burial, were organized by the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial


Dewey was born Feb. 9, 1983, in Cambridge, Minn., just north of the Twin

Cities, and graduated from high school there in 2001. He was the oldest

of five brothers; he also had two step-sisters.

He graduated from Hibbing, Minn., Community College in 2003 and joined

the Mahnomen County Sheriff's Department in 2004. He also was a

volunteer firefighter in Twin Lakes and Waubun

His high school sweetheart, Emily Boulden, became his bride in 2007.

The avid hunter and outdoorsmen is survived by his wife; mother, Poppe;

step-father, Keith; father, Mark; step-mother, Jennifer; and siblings,

Daniel, Philip, Henry, Douglas, Sara and Hana.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, among dignitaries attending the funeral, ordered al

flags to be lowered to half staff at the state Capitol complex in honor

of Dewey. Also at the funeral were to be Attorney General Lori Swanson,

Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion and Corrections Commissioner

Joan Fabian.

Ironically, the man facing murder charges in the shooting comes from

Anoka, not far from Living Word Christian Center. He is Thomas Lee


A co-defendant in the shooting, Daniel Kurt Vernier, pleaded guilty to

charges and was sentenced last September to two years in prison.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.