Memorial services for peace officers killed in the line of duty are fortunately rare in Minnesota.
But they're regular enough that the law enforcement community has been adapting and changing the process, adding their own stamp to one of humanity's oldest rituals.
Here's a look at what they look like today, and why.
1. The funeral process starts almost immediately. Officials with Minnesota's Law Enforcement Memorial Association contact the chief of the affected agency to offer help and an outline of how the process has gone in the past. Larger departments often have staff that have gone through the ritual for their colleagues.
2. Officers train for funeral duties. Bigger departments may have ceremonial units, and the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association established an "Honor Guard" in 1991. Those volunteer officers are trained by the "Old Guard," the U.S. Army's 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment that conducts memorials and other ceremonies for the military, including the sentinels posted at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the Arlington National Cemetery.
3. The funeral services are set by the family of the fallen officer. In Minnesota, some have been held in small churches, others have been large public events, like the funeral for North St. Paul police officer Richard Crittenden, held at the Aldrich Arena in Maplewood. The rite reflects the survivors wishes, often in consultation with the police agency involved.
4. A procession after the funeral may now include a horse-drawn funeral caisson. The Law Enforcement Memorial Association raised funds to purchase the caisson and first used it for the funeral of Cold Spring officer Tom Decker in 2012.
5. A rifle squad of seven officers typically fires a 21-gun salute, in three volleys after the formal funeral services. The rifles for the Law Enforcement Memorial Association are ceremonial, and used specifically for funerals.
6. Music is a key part of the ritual. Funerals may include a bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace." The Law Enforcement Memorial Association also has a bugler corps to play "Taps." A funeral may feature a pair of buglers, arranged to create an echo effect.
7. Departments have recently begun a tradition of publicly "retiring" a peace officer's work designation during the memorial ceremonies. That will include an unanswered radio call by a dispatcher to the fallen officer's squad number, closed with an end of service or "end of watch" call. Badge numbers are typically retired as well.
8. The U.S. flag that may drape an officer's coffin is folded by a squad of officers trained in the process. The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs suggests a 5-step process that leaves visible just stars on field of blue.
9. Behind-the-scenes support for the family starts almost immediately and will continue with support for obtaining a long list of survivor benefits, short-term financial support and the opportunity to participate in an annual ritual in May. Minnesota has a chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors that will offer counseling and emotional support to survivors.
10. The memorials for officers can go on for years. During the holidays, the Law Enforcement Memorial Association sends a wreath, with a blue ribbon, to the surviving families of fallen officers across the state.
Source: Minnesota Public Radio research, Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association