Saturday marked a transition in the way the community honors Boone County Sheriff Deputy Jacob Pickett, who died in the line of duty in March 2018.
Last year’s Jacob Pickett Remembrance Day centered on bringing the community together, honoring his memory, and bringing some closure, his widow Jennifer, ‘Jen’, Pickett said.
But, Jen and supporters put their grief into action in defense of others this year, dedicating Saturday’s remembrance day and the money raised to another law enforcement family, the Farinellas of Tipton County.
“Our mission is to help with the financial tolls brought on by life’s traumatic events for other law enforcement families,” Jen said of the non-profit JPRO, unveiled in January.
Jen’s friend, Amanda Farinella, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in October.
Amanda’s husband, Joe Farinella, and Jake were sworn in together as Tipton County Sheriff’s Deputies in 2013 before Jake joined the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, and Joe and Jake worked together as K9 officers.
The Farinellas and an entourage of family and friends wearing “Team Farinella” T-shirts attended the second remembrance day and had a great time, Jen said.
Tipton and Boone county sheriff’s deputies and their K9 partners pleased a crowd during a training demonstration at the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Maxx, agile partner of Boone County Deputy John Barnes, leaped onto the hood and over the top of an SUV used for K9 training. Maxx next circled and dove into the open driver’s side window and shot out the back gate, one of his favorite tricks.
Then Boone County Deputy Taylor Nielson strode into the ring wearing a K9 bite sleeve and Maxx crouched, tensed with excitement, his eyes set on her, as Nielsen got into the SUV to pose as a non-compliant suspect.
Maxx strained against his leash at Barnes’ command to approach the SUV and, given the okay, lunged through the open window in one fluid movement, clamping his jaws onto the bite sleeve.
He pulled Nielsen toward the door Barnes opened behind him and out onto the pavement, never letting loose of the sleeve. He finally ripped the sleeve off of Nielsen’s arm, only to wrestle and bite it a bit as a reward before Barnes returned him to the kennel in their patrol vehicle.
Maxx is a dual-purpose dog trained in narcotics detection, handler protection, and suspect apprehension.
The Boone County Special Response Team also did a demonstration. Lebanon Police Officer Austin Scott, an SRT member, came with sons Sam, 5, and Kyle, 4. Kyle chatted and beamed at his father as they arrived hand-in-hand.
Although Scott’s boys wore stocking caps and puffer coats alongside their dad’s tricked-out duty belt, rifle, extra magazines, and face mask, Kyle proudly showed off his Marvel Comics Black Panther shirt hidden under the coat.
Kyle said his dad works at the police station and shoots for a living.
Children at the family event lined up to have their faces painted, played on inflatable attractions and colored in a building set aside for them, while volunteers served meals in the Witham Pavilion.
“I know we sold a lot of hot dogs and donuts and coffee and cookies,” Jen said. “We almost sold out of T-shirts.”
She was unaware Monday of the amount raised because the organization’s treasurer is still working on the total. And there was no admission charge, so it’s difficult to know how many attended, but there was a steady stream of people the entire time, Jen said.
Twenty-four teams competed in a corn hole tournament with BCS Deputies Craig Fouts and Ryan Musgrave being the victors.
Adult attendees gave 46 units of blood to the American Red Cross, more than the 40 hoped for, blood drive organizer Sandra Ryden said.
There was also brisk competition for items donated to a silent auction.
“I’m grateful for the companies, organizations, and individuals who supported our event by donating and coming,” Jen said.
She was pleased with the turnout in honor of her husband, who often dropped what he was doing to help people or animals in need.
“We wanted this year to be less somber,” Jen said. “And moving forward we’re trying to emulate the way Jake lived his life by giving back to the community the way the community gave back to me. This year, that’s the Farinellas.”
Other law enforcement families facing a crisis will receive aid from the JPRO as time passes.
Jen learned Monday that the Hickory Hall Polo Club will donate proceeds from an autumn polo match in Whitestown to the JPRO. The polo club previously donated match money for Jen and family to attend Police Week in Washington, D.C.