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‘He had the biggest heart’: Friends, speakers remember fallen IMPD officer

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INDIANAPOLIS (July 11, 2014) – He loved his family. He loved his neighborhood. He loved his dogs.

Those are among the things friends said Friday as the Indianapolis community paused to remember Officer Perry Renn, the Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer who died last weekend in a shootout.

Time and time again, those who knew Renn mentioned that he chose to stay on the night shift and knew the area was dangerous.

Family friend Sabrina Young once mentioned to Renn that he worked in a bad neighborhood.

“I do,” she recalled him saying. “It’s where I’m needed.”

Officer Jeff Krider said Renn “had the biggest heart” during the ceremony at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Before Young and Krider took the stage, Gov. Mike Pence spoke about Renn’s service and sacrifice. He called it a “high honor” to speak to Renn’s family.

“It is my solemn duty to say that this is a time for Indiana to mourn,” Pence said. “So we come together to mourn a husband, a son, a brother a neighbor, a soldier, a police officer and a friend.”

Pence expressed his condolences to the fallen officer’s family.

“We do not grieve like the rest who have no hope for we have our faith, we have our families. And heroes gives us hope. Officer Perry Renn was a hero,” Pence said.

“Heroes are not simply defined in moments of crisis. They are also defined in moments of quiet, selfless dedication that often go unnoticed.

“Perry Renn, by all accounts of those who knew him best, was always there to lend a hand to a neighbor in need. Whether it was running a snowblower or taking out their trash, as one neighbor said so eloquently, he was just a very caring individual. It’s something you don’t see much very much in the world anymore.

Sen. Joe Donnelly expressed his condolences to the family and said the state of Indiana, and indeed the rest of the nation, stood behind the fallen officer.

“On behalf of all Hoosiers from Evansville to Fort Wayne to South Bend, our hearts are broken,” Donnelly said.

“What a guy Perry Renn was. What a guy. He served our beloved city for over 20 years. But he was also a member of the 82nd Airborne. Over a hundred jumps. He was in Korea, in Grenada.

“Everything Perry did was about serving others. Serving our country, serving our city. And when he served, he chose to do it in the most challenging places and with the most difficult missions because he wanted to know that his neighbors were safe.”

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said most people don’t understand a profession where imminent danger is common. Renn understood, he said, and embraced it.

“Perry Renn chose his profession. Chose his area of duty. Chose to protect us,” Ballard said.

Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs echoed those comments.

“Officer Perry Renn of the IMPD made a difference,” Riggs said.

"In attendance with us today, we have 59 new police recruits. Fifty nine. Chief Hite and I met with them earlier in the week and I can assure you they understand Officer Renn's valor, commitment and sacrifice and they will remember it. And they'll remember it for the rest of their 30-year career."

He then addressed the officer’s family.

"May God grant you the peace that only He can provide. Our sincere condolences.”

IMPD Chief Rick Hite emphasized Renn’s service to the department and his love of his family, his neighborhood and, of course, his dogs. He said Renn saved lives and prevented injuries by helping out in the wake of the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

“Greatness is not what you have. Greatness is what you give. From all accounts, Perry Wayne Renn gave much,” Hite said. “He chose to work in patrol to make a difference in the field.”

Hite said this was the “beginning, not the end,” of Renn’s legacy and thanked the city of Indianapolis for its support.

“We’ve seen blue lights all over the city,” Hite said.