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Fallen officer honored

Update: 4:56 pm, 9/18/13, Wednesday MONTICELLO -- An emotional day as Officer Rich Bowman was laid to rest, but not before his final call.
Update: 4:56 pm, 9/18/13, Wednesday
MONTICELLO -- An emotional day as Officer Rich Bowman was laid to rest, but not before his final call. His funeral was held at Mackey Wright Funeral Home.

Officers from across Central Illinois came to pay respects. There was also a 21-gun salute, bagpipes and a flag presentation. Officers will raise money for Bowman's family with a poker run next month.

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Original: 10:27 pm, 9/17/13, Tuesday
MONTICELLO -- He served both his country and community, now hundreds are saying goodbye to a life suddenly cut short. Police officers across Central Illinois are mourning the loss of one of their own.

Deputy Chief Richard Bowman died last week from complications related to a heart attack. He was in his 11th year with the Monticello Police Department.

Officers from Champaign, Decatur, Farmer City, Rantoul and more stopped by his visitation Tuesday. One reason is because Bowman taught many of them while working at the Police Training Institute in Champaign.

Even those who didn't know him, like the Patriot Guard Riders, were on hand as well. The veterans honored Bowman because he spent two years as a military police officer in the 1990's.

Bowman's death was a shock to everyone. He was known for being physically fit, even entering body building competitions. But the man with the larger-than-life stature and personality will be remembered for so much more.

"I think Rich's biggest reach is on a personal level to people, because if you had a problem, you could go to Rich. A personal problem, a family problem, anything and he would guide you in the right direction and help you. And that's where I really think he touched a lot of lives," said Champaign police officer Jared Gale.

He credits Bowman with helping him join the force. Gale says Bowman hired him onto the Monticello department, then vouched for him when he applied in Champaign.

Bowman will be laid to rest Wednesday at noon in Monticello. Dispatchers will conduct a last call over the radio at the ceremony. The last call is when an officer is recognized over the radio one final time.

They'll say Bowman’s name and badge number. The call is followed with silence. Coworkers say his heart problems started while he was working his final shift.
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