January 25, 2020
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Detective’s funeral set for Tuesday as family, co-workers get grief support

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Maine State Police Col. John Cote holds a press conference on Wednesday afternoon regarding the death of detective Ben Campbell. 

A funeral service for Maine State Police Detective Ben Campbell will take place Tuesday in Portland, and flags throughout the state will remain at half-staff until sunset that evening.

As family members and co-workers mourn Campbell’s loss, the state police Members Assistance Team and a national organization that supports those close to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), have been helping them.

The funeral service is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena, nearly a week after Campbell was killed when a wheel that detached from a passing logging truck trailer struck him. Campbell was helping a driver whose car had spun off the road in snowy conditions on Interstate 95 in Hampden.

The Members Assistance Team and COPS mobilized immediately after learning of Campbell’s death, and have been assisting his family and coworkers ever since, said Chris Blanchard, a Bangor police officer and Maine representative for COPS.

“Law enforcement is a unique group of people. If an officer is killed in the line of duty, it affects us all. They are family to us. This trooper is my brother,” Blanchard said Friday. “Sure, state and local police might razz each other. But we all wear the badge. He bleeds, I bleed.”

COPS has tapped its national network to help Campbell’s family and coworkers, Blanchard said. COPS members in Massachusetts, where Campbell grew up, have reached out to the detective’s family members.

Here in Maine, Blanchard said, “we’ve actually heard from the wife of Eugene Cole, who has offered to speak with the family, even though she’s still going through the same sort of grief.”

Cole was a corporal with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office who was killed in the line of duty in April 2018.

Blanchard said the grieving process is different for everybody — but that the death of one officer in the line of duty wounds all officers, whether they knew the dead or not.

In addition to helping family members through the grieving process, COPS members also assist families with applying for state and federal benefits, funeral planning and preparations for future memorials. That includes the events set for National Police Week, held each May in Washington, D.C., which features a number of memorials for fallen officers and their families, Blanchard said.

The investigation into the accident that killed Campbell is expected to take at least a week, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The driver of the logging truck, Scott Willett, 52, of Patten, has not been charged. Investigators are reviewing Willett’s truck to determine whether any defects contributed to the incident.

The Maine medical examiner’s office has completed an autopsy, but probably won’t release its results until the investigation is complete, said Mark Belserene, the office’s administrator.

McCausland said that state police have established an account at Bangor Savings Bank for anyone who wants to help the Campbell family. Donations can be sent to the Detective Benjamin Campbell Fund, Bangor Savings Bank, P.O. Box 454, Skowhegan, 04976, he said.

 



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