EVERETT, Wash. - The community of Everett is preparing to honor fallen police officer Dan Rocha at a public memorial event on Monday.
All of this, as the National Fraternal Order of Police said Washington is one of five states with the highest number of officers killed so far in 2022.
People in Everett said they will make sure 41-year-old Rocha is never forgotten.
The community continues to show up to honor Rocha and even a day before the memorial, people are still bringing flowers. New messages are also seen at the memorial.
"I wanted to contribute my heart to the family and share my love and heartfelt respects to them," neighbor Mary Snel said.
For Snel, visiting the tribute to Rocha at the North Precinct was something she needed to do on Sunday morning.
"He was loved. He did well and he was well-respected," she said.
There are blue lights in the police department windows and the tributes go beyond the North Precinct.
Businesses have signs on display, from the Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop to the Totem Diner and other marquee signs.
They are all remembering an officer who died doing his job.
"It just shows that we are stronger for them, for the family and the officers than some people think," Snel said.
Investigators said Rocha was shot by 50-year-old Richard James Rotter, who then ran Rocha over with a car before he was arrested.
Rotter has a lengthy criminal history including at least 18 felonies.
The National Fraternal Order of Police said there have been 101 police officers shot in the line of duty this year, with 17 of them dying. The FOP said that's a 43% increase compared to the number of officers shot in the same time period in 2021.
The organization said Washington is one of five states with the highest number of officers killed so far this year.
That's why Snel said it is so important that everyone take a moment to honor the commitment and the sacrifice.
"A remembrance of his service to the community and people can that to their hearts and they can take that and dwell on it and hold that tight and hopefully people will start showing more respect to our police officers," Snel said.
People in the community are also installing blue light bulbs wanting to light up the city and show their ongoing support for Rocha and the Everett Police Department.
The memorial service will be held on Monday, April 4 at 1:00 p.m. at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. The service will be open to the public. Watch the service live when it begins on FOX 13 and streaming at FOX13Seattle.com/live.
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