Wednesday, February 4, 1998
Police, family stuck in grief
Search for body still fruitless

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mike Partin
COVINGTON, Ky. - It has been a month today since Officer Mike Partin fell into the Ohio River.

While his wife of less than a year grieves over the loss of her husband, the Covington police force of 100 also continues to mourn his disappearance.

They have to keep those feelings in check as they continue to search for his body, with chances for retrieval dimming as the days go by.

Dealing with grief after an officer dies on the job is one of the topics key to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The organization used a federal grant to develop a policy statement departments can use as a guideline for handling line-of-duty deaths. It's a process put into place by departments across the country, for 159 officer deaths last year alone.

But when the officer is presumed dead but hasn't been found? Spokeswoman Sara Johnson wasn't sure what to recommend.

''That's terrible,'' she said. ''I'm not sure I've ever heard of that happening before.''

Officer Partin, who would be celebrating his 26th birthday Saturday, fell into the river early Jan. 4 while he was helping another officer chase a suspect. He had been on the force 15 months.

Helicopters and boats still search regularly. But officials know they may not find him for quite some time.

Several people have suggested that the search be stopped, to which Assistant Chief Bill Dorsey responds: ''Do you want to tell his wife we're going to quit?''

''I think as long as we have people that are as concerned about this officer as we are, we'll keep looking,'' Lt. Col. Dorsey said. ''If people can come from Toledo to look, certainly we can look.'' Besides, he said, the search isn't costing much - the National Guard helicopter is free thanks to taxpayers; the water-rescue boats have cost only some fuel money. The largest expense so far has been $4,300 to hire professional divers.

The chief said he speaks to Mrs. Partin daily. She is not ready to allow any kind of memorial service or to let her husband's name be etched into the Northern Kentucky Police Memorial.

Several fund-raisers are in the works for the officer's family, one at the Yucatan Liquor Stand on Feb. 15 being planned in part by Officer Dennis Sparks, a friend of Officer Partin's and his first training officer. Together they painted a chess set, something Officer Sparks now finds difficult to look at.

The money will help Mrs. Partin and her 11-year-old daughter, in addition to $130,000 from a federal fund for officers killed on duty. Mrs. Partin, formerly a restaurant manager, has been unable to return to work.

Previous stories

Hints taunt river searchers Jan. 25, 1998
Search fails to find officer Jan. 5, 1998
What happened(118k gif), Jan. 5, 1998
Tristate police suffer another blow Jan. 5, 1998
Rookie looked, acted like vet Jan. 5, 1998
Officer's family grieves at river Jan. 6, 1998
Bridge gap has a purpose Jan. 6, 1998
Borgman cartoon Jan. 6, 1998
Police keep taking risks for our sake Karen Samples column, Jan. 6, 1998
Pro divers added to search Jan. 7, 1998
Rain slows search for officer Jan. 8, 1998
Police weary but determined Jan. 9, 1998
Death, search take toll on chief Jan. 10, 1998
Partin recalled as a kind officer Jan. 11, 1998
Police might re-evaluate search Jan. 11, 1998
Weather delays hunt for officer Jan. 13, 1998
Police: Donation calls are fake Jan. 14, 1998