SOUTHPORT, Ind. - Quilts, pillows, and a teddy bear were given over to the family of Lieutenant Aaron Allan Saturday. The gifts were given over during the Southport Police Department's academy graduation ceremony, which was held six months after Allan's death.
The four quilts, two pillows, and teddy bear were made by volunteer seamstresses with Indiana Going Blue. Each one made from police patches from across the world and fabric of old Southport police uniforms. Some quilts included materials of an old uniform of Lt. Allan.
"I think it was close to over 700 patches and that was all over the world," said Southport Police Chief Tom Vaughn. "It was just heartwarming.”
Indiana Going Blue is a group of people who have united to show support for law enforcement and other first responders. At times, it has helped raising funds for police equipment. It also finds way to support law enforcement families.
Tammy Wise was one of four seamstresses to make a quilt. “I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose one of them," she said. "Anything I can do to honor him and his family, I’m for it.”
Wise, who lives in Warsaw, is the mother of an IMPD officer. She has a son-in-law who is also with IMPD.
The other seamstresses are:
- Janice Kirk-Hylden of Kokomo
- Ephina Disinger of Delphi
- Beth Lybarger of Mooresville
“I was there safe and sound, and my family was safe, while I sew," Wise said. "So, I did a lot of thinking and praying while I was making it for her and the family.”
The graduation ceremony was the third ever for the Southport Police Academy. Twelve people - 11 men and one woman - graduated the program and will become volunteer officers in the community. Sixteen police explorers also graduated.
The ceremony was done with Allan's uniform seated in a chair near the center of The Life Center's stage.
“For these guys do the academy is a great honor to Lt. Allan," Vaughn said.
The graduating class was scheduled to start the academy the day Allan was killed. Instead, it was delayed two weeks, which put graduation on the six-month anniversary of his death.
The Allan family was there for the entire graduation.
“For Stacy to be here today, and his father and mother, is a great honor for us," said Vaughn. "I think it carries on his legacy. It lets these guys understand what they’re fighting for and what they are working towards.”
According to police, Jason Brown shot and killed Allan on July 27. Brown was in a car crash and Allan was trying to help.
Brown's trial is set for late February. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Since July, Allan's work on the department hasn't been forgotten.
“The support has been amazing," Vaughn said. "Since the incident we still have people coming into the police department every day. They might bring us cookies or something, but just to say thank you. Thank you means the world to us.”
With the addition of Saturday's graduating class, the Southport Police Department now has 48 volunteer officers on its staff.