Fallen officer’s family pitches in for National Night Out

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

By Jill Glavan

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 5, 2014) -- The family of a fallen IMPD officer did their part for National Night Out, as they approach a decade since his death.

Westfield's National Night Out has been known as Jake Laird Community Day for the past four years.

Laird's parents, Mike and Debbie, began sponsoring the event as part of a foundation they created in their son's name.

Ofc. Jake Laird died in the line of duty August 18, 2004. He left behind a daughter and a family who now devote their time to helping others.

"We just don’t want people to forget," Mike Laird said.

It has been a difficult past year for central Indiana police officers, who have seen two IMPD officers lose their lives protecting the community.

Fox 59 spoke to Debbie Laird last year, after the death of Ofc. Rod Bradway. She offered her support from her own son's grave in Crown Hill Cemetary.

"Our hearts just break. It just brings it all back, we just remember how hard it was that day for us," Laird said.

That's why this year's National Night Out held an even deeper meaning. For the Lairds, it was a time to have fun and to bring together police officers and community members.

"They help us protect other people," young attendee Noah Liechty said.

For many, like Lisa Marie Hensley, it's been hard to ignore what's been happening in the community.

"Just a lot of violence going on. (You must) keep a really close eye on your kids and you never know what’s going to happen," Hensley said.

What they do know, though, is that getting together is a step in the right direction. It was the kind of night the Laird family was happy to sponsor - hoping time together will go a long way to finding peace.

"Jake was doing what he wanted to do, what he loved to do. He gave his life for the city, so we’re very proud of him. We miss him a lot," Mike Laird said.

For more on the Jake Laird Memorial Foundation, visit the link here.