WESTERVILLE, OH (WCMH) - Saturday marks one month since two Westerville police officers were killed in the line of duty.
Officers Anthony Morelli, 54, and Eric Joering, 39, were shot and killed on Feb. 10, while responding to a 911 hang-up call on Crosswind Drive. Since that tragic day, the Westerville community has rallied around the police department, raising money for the families and hanging blue ribbons around town. According to Westerville Chief of Police Joseph Morbitzer, those temporary tributes will begin to be taken down on Saturday.
Chief Morbitzer released a letter to the public on Wednesday, addressing the end of the official mourning period for the police department and urging the public to carry on Morelli and Joering's memory:
On behalf of the Westerville Division of Police, we cannot adequately express our gratitude for everyone for your generosity, love, and support over the last three weeks. Words truly cannot convey how grateful we are for all that has been done for the Morelli and Joering family, as well as for our police family.
This support was especially evident with citizens and businesses displaying blue ribbons, posters, and blue lights. Many people have asked when to remove the blue ribbons and replace blue bulbs. Our official mourning period for the Division ends March 10, 2018; however, it is our goal to live the ideals and values of Tony and Eric each and every day. We believe it is a personal decision when you feel it is the right time to change out light bulbs and remove the ribbons. With that said, we feel the support posters in the area businesses serve to commemorate both Tony and Eric. If left on display, these serve as a fitting memorial for both of these dedicated officers.
If you would like to show your support for law enforcement, we would suggest that during police memorial week, May 11 - 16 each year, citizens and businesses post blue ribbons and blue bulbs in memory of all officers killed in the line of duty. To show support for firefighters, in the first week of October, red ribbons and bulbs could be displayed in memory of firefighters killed in the line of duty. Additionally, to support the military, green bulbs and ribbons could be displayed during Memorial Day weekend and Veterans Day."