From a comedy benefit to a basketball tournament, multiple efforts are underway in the south metro to memorialize slain Mendota Heights police Officer Scott Patrick and raise money for his family.
Patrick, the most tenured member of the Mendota Heights police force, died July 30, 2014, when Brian Fitch Sr. shot him during a routine traffic stop on Dodd Road.
A bill moving through the Legislature aims to rename a portion of that road for Patrick. The fundraisers will try to raise enough money to send Patrick’s family and fellow officers to National Police Week in Washington, D.C., next month, where there will be a memorial service for officers killed in the line of duty in 2014.
“This trip won’t be a vacation, it’s part of a healing process,” said Mendota Heights police Officer Mike Shepard, who is on the committee to manage memorial efforts.
On April 11, the latest in a series of fundraising events in Patrick’s honor will span more than 12 hours in the metro area, beginning with a daylong basketball tournament in Mendota Heights and ending with a comedy show in Bloomington.
The fifth annual “Ballin’ in D.C.” tournament, which raises money for families of slain officers, will donate all of the event’s proceeds to the Patrick family. Tournament director Booker Hodges, a Dakota County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, said interest this year was so great that the field swelled from four teams to 10. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Henry Sibley High School.
Hodges, who joined the manhunt that led to the Fitch’s arrest, said donated items will be auctioned off all day. Hodges expects to raise $3,000 to $5,000 this year.
Later, at the Ramada Bloomington, a comedy fundraiser hosted by the Mendota Heights Police Officers’ Benevolent Association and the Joke Joint will feature a bill that includes a California officer who doubles as a comedian and a local performer whose husband is an officer in the metro area. That comedian, Julie Bane, met Patrick just before his death when he dropped by the Joke Joint in St. Paul.
“He wanted people to know that he was there,” she said of Patrick’s community outreach.
As many as 500 are expected to attend the fundraiser and also bid on items at an auction.
Shepard, who leads the Mendota Heights Police Officers’ Benevolent Association, said Sun Country Airlines told him it would cover the costs of the Patrick family’s airfare to Washington, but more is needed to cover lodging for the family and the cost of travel for other Mendota Heights officers.
A merchandise page on www.officerscottpatrick.com has generated nearly $3,000 since its March inception, but Shepard said between $25,000 and $30,000 is needed.
Meanwhile, a bill to rename Dodd Road from Interstate 494 to Smith Avenue in honor of Patrick moved through a Legislative committee last month. Introduced by Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, the bill would add signs to the road, deeming it “Officer Scott Patrick Memorial Highway.”
Patrick spent much of his 19 years on the force with that area as his beat, and died there on July 30 when he was shot during a traffic stop.
“The chief reason is to send a message to family and fellow officers that he is not going to be forgotten,” Atkins said.