Officer at last at rest

Saturday, May 23, 1998

BY JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Lisa Partin cries at her husband's casket.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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FORT MITCHELL -- She stood alone under a tall evergreen at Highland Cemetery, behind the sea of dark blue Covington police uniforms. Many officers greeted her. They know her by her voice.

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Mike Partin
Web page
As other departments covered the city's streets, the entire 100-plus Covington Police Department pulled out their dress uniforms and white cotton gloves for this day, Friday. It was a day they would bury one of their own -- something they hadn't had to do in almost 30 years.

The church, St. Timothy's Episcopal in Anderson Township, filled quickly with people mourning the loss of Officer Mike Partin. White stretch limos brought the officer's wife, Lisa, and family members.

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A piper leads the casket out of St. Thomas Episcopal Church
(Gary Landers photo)
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Some of the same people sat in this sanctuary last April for Lisa and Mike's wedding. Mike wore cowboy boots that day. It was the first time the Rev. Roger S. Greene ever married a groom in cowboy boots.

The rector was back at the front of the church again Friday morning, this time with only Mrs. Partin before him. He spoke directly to the year-ago bride as he talked about never really knowing why God takes people so young.

Find hope, he said: maybe in the overwhelming support from the police family that impressed him so much. More officers came than could fit in the church. Still more watched from folding chairs in the church auditorium; others mourned before a big-screen TV in Anderson High School's auditorium.

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A 5-mile procession of police vehicles escorts Officer Partin's body across the Ohio River into Kentucky.
(Tony Jones photo)
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She held her script close. She had practiced it, but was afraid her emotions would get in the way.

Officer Partin, 25, had been on the department just 15 months when he fell into the Ohio River early Jan. 4. He was helping another officer chase a suspect when he fell through a gap in the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.

Despite hundreds of hours of searching, his body remained in the river until Monday. It was found about 9 1/2 miles downstream from the bridge along the Ohio shoreline west of Anderson Ferry.

A 5-mile procession of police motorcycles and cruisers, their lights flashing, escorted Officer Partin's remains along Beechmont Avenue, Interstate 275 and Dixie Highway. Past saluting officers, past Anderson High School students. The officer's younger brother, Brandon, is on the football team there.

It continued under two arches made by fire departments' ladder trucks. Past Blessed Sacrament school, where children held signs and sang a song about being raised up on eagles' wings and being held in the palm of God's hand.

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Officer Partin's widow, Lisa; stepdaughter, Sara Smith, and mother, Ruth Evers.
(Gary Landers photo)
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The motorcade entered the cemetery just as a steady rain let up.

The sun broke through as the honor guard pulled the casket from the hearse and carried it to its spot in front of where Mrs. Partin would soon sit. She walked over the grass in her high heels, stopping at the casket to kiss the top.

She wanted to do this. And the Fraternal Order of Police requested her specifically. Because she had been on duty that night. She had been to the water's edge, too, as the searching dragged on.

The crowd of 500 prayed The Lord's Prayer. The Rev. Greene talked about the shortness and uncertainty of life.

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Chief Al Bosse presents the flag to Mrs. Partin.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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Chief Al Bosse, known as a man of few words, talked about Officer Partin's sense of humor, intelligence and dedication to his job. Mrs. Partin nodded as he mentioned each.

The chief handed Mrs. Partin the flag that had draped her husband's casket. Folded inside was one of the empty shell casings from the 21-gun salute minutes before. She thanked the chief and clutched the flag to her face, her chest heaving.

Sgt. Tom Epperson led his bay quarter horse, Moonlight Showdown. The horse held no rider, only empty boots in the stirrups.

Then Kenton County Police Officer Brian Kane, the man Officer Partin was rushing to help that night, stepped to the side of the casket. Struggling to keep his composure, he brought his right hand up to his forehead in a final salute.

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Officer Brian Allen hugs his wife after the graveside ceremony.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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She approached the podium at the foot of the casket. The last to send the dead officer on a call, Dispatcher Jenny Douglas was about to be the last to speak of him at his burial.

"Zero, one, six, three, 0163," she said, calling Officer Partin's number just as she had done many times. He did not, of course, respond.

Mustering an unwavering voice, she continued: "Attention all units. Attention all units. Be advised, final call of unit 0163, Covington Police Officer Michael A. Partin, killed in the line of duty, 4 January 1998 at 0231 hours.

"May he rest in peace."

MIKE PARTIN PAGE



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