Boone County, Indiana, lost one officer — Deputy Jacob Pickett — in the line of duty this year. When the time came to put up the annual Christmas tree at the Sheriff’s Office, the department decided to do something in honor of their fallen officer. Per Fox Carolina, Deputy Pickett was one of 137 police officers who were killed nationwide in 2018. Therefore, Boone County’s Christmas tree is decorated with 137 blue bulbs.
Although this gesture alone would have probably had deep meaning for the families of those lost in the line of duty, Boone County’s Sheriff’s Office decided to take things a step further. Each bulb is adorned with the handwritten name and rank of a fallen officer, along with their “end of watch” date. Once the Christmas season is over, each afflicted department will receive their designated blue bulb in the mail.
Fox News spoke to members of the Boone County Sherriff’s Office to get their take on the blue Christmas tree.
Mike Gideon, the Senior Dispatch Officer, said, “It means a lot to all of us – we were all very close. He [Deputy Pickett] was a wonderful officer, and it’s our way of honoring him and the other 136 officers that have been killed this year.”
Joni Scott, the Office Chaplain, characterized the fallen officers as “incredible hero[s]” and said that each bulb represents “a life that matters.”
WTHR13 reported earlier this year that Deputy Pickett’s alleged murderer, Anthony Baumgardt, won’t stand trial until 2020. If he’s convicted, Baumgardt faces the death penalty. Baumgardt admitted to reporters that he’s guilty, and has stated on several occasions that he feels absolutely no remorse.
Sheriff's office honors every law enforcement officer killed this year with Blue Christmas tree https://t.co/RuM3G97AkA— FOX Carolina News (@foxcarolinanews) December 12, 2018
The idea to honor fallen police officers with a Christmas tree is not a new one. According to Fox13, a Utah woman donated three trees this year to the Salt Lake City Festival of Trees to honor deceased Officer David Romrell and a local Marine veteran.
Back in 2016, ABC13 interviewed Police Commander Steve Rider about his neighborhood’s Christmas Eve tradition. Every year, luminaries are lit to honor the lives of every U.S. police officer who has died in the line of duty.
Last year, the Niles Police Department in Niles, Michigan, put up a Christmas tree decorated with bulbs honoring officers — and K9-unit dogs — who had given their lives protecting their local communities. As Leader Publications reported, a single Christmas tree wasn’t enough to hold the weight of every silver and blue bulb.