Shine a blue light for officer's family
With a simple flip of a light switch, local law enforcement is asking the community to help support the family of a fallen officer.
Lake City Police Officer Shawn Schneider died Friday, December 30 after he was shot in the head responding to a domestic disturbance on December 19.
During his hospitalization, Schneider's wife had asked Minnesotans to leave a porch light on.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is taking the request one step further. Employees have organized a fundraiser for Schneider's family - The Blue Light Campaign for Officer Schneider.
The group is asking the community to leave a blue light shining through January to show support for the Schneider family.
The office will sell blue light bulbs for $5 each.
Organizers said, hopefully, people will plug them in to their porch light and the community will glow with blue lights to show their support for Officer Schneider's family.
The light bulbs can be purchased Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Douglas County Jail lobby, located at 509 3rd Avenue West, next to the new Alexandria Police Department.
All of the money from the blue light bulb fundraiser will go to the Shawn Schneider Family Support Fund established in Lake City.
Deputy Kevin Wiseman is leading the local fundraising effort and said, "In law enforcement, we're a tight-knit family and when anyone in law enforcement goes down, it affects all of us. Even if we don't know them personally, it hits a little close to home."
Wiseman said community members and businesses displaying a blue light are showing their support for Officer Schneider's family during their time of grief.
"Even after all the Christmas lights are put away and the media attention goes away, I'm hoping to see blue lights everywhere," Wiseman said.
The blue light bulbs have been donated, or deeply discounted, by local businesses for The Blue Light Campaign for Officer Schneider.
"We encourage the public to participate by donating money, buying blue light bulbs - however they want to help," Wiseman said.
Memorial contributions may also be sent directly to: Shawn Schneider Family Support Fund, c/o Kathy Moyer, Alliance Bank, 105 East Lyon Avenue, Lake City, MN 55041.
"In law enforcement, we know it can happen to any one of us," Wiseman said. "Sometimes people have this thing in their head that it will never happen in small town Minnesota. Well, it has happened, unfortunately... we're not immune to it by any means. Every day we go to work and you just never know. That's why we never forget."
A memorial service will be held for Schneider on Friday and his funeral will be held Saturday in Lake City.
His wife, Brittany and three children survive Schneider.
Follow Amy Chaffins on Twitter at @TheOsakisReview.