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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Officials reflect on officer's death

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mike Heaton
Devastating news rocked the Terre Haute Police Department Monday when it witnessed the death of one of its own.

At approximately 3:27 p.m., Monday, members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force were serving a warrant at a residence along with troopers with the Indiana State Police Department and the Terre Haute Police Department.

While attempting to serve the warrant, gunfire took place and THPD Officer Brent Long, 34, and his K-9 partner, Shadow, were struck.

Officer Long was removed from the residence and treated at the scene. He was transported to Union Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Both the Clay County Sheriff's Department and Brazil City Police Department have offered condolences to THPD in its time of need.

"It's kind of shocking," CCSD Sheriff Mike Heaton said. "It's so close. Right next door. It's a neighboring county."

Heaton said both CCSD K-9 handlers knew Officer Long. Heaton has since spoken to both officers.

"I talked to some of the deputies (Monday evening)," Heaton said. "It's kind of hard to put in words. They're sad, especially knowing it was somebody you knew and trained with. It's not an easy thing."

Larry Pierce
BCPD Chief Larry Pierce echoed Heaton's sentiments.

"I guess before it goes through your mind, it goes through your stomach," Pierce said. "It's like somebody hitting you in the stomach.

"It's all (one unit) when something like this happens."

Long was a six-year member of THPD.

In their combined 53 years of law enforcement service, both Heaton and Pierce have not witnessed the death of an officer, although they have known some officers that have died.

For example, Heaton -- who has been in law enforcement for 18 years -- said he knew former Putnam County Sheriff Jim Baugh, who died from injuries sustained from a vehicle crash.

"I remember when I went to the academy, Jim Baugh was the firearms instructor," Heaton said. "I knew him pretty well."

Pierce has a combined 35 years of experience in law enforcement, from police departments, sheriff's departments and ISP.

"I went through it, but it was no one I worked with every day," Pierce said. "When I was with the state police, there may have been someone on the other end of the state or a member of our department. But I've never lost a personal friend that I worked with every day.

"It's just something you don't want to see. It can happen any time. That is what officers face every day, the situation that it can happen. We all pray that it doesn't."

Both Heaton and Pierce said their departments are willing to offer up any type of assistance THPD needs.

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