URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — “Aaron left such a legacy that is very, very difficult to fulfill,” U of I Police Chief Alice Cary said.
Now the department is feeling a void after losing a member of their team. A community is mourning the loss of a law enforcement officer. A visitation happened this evening for Lieutenant Aaron Landers. Landers was killed in a crash on August 22nd.
The parking lot of the Vineyard Church in Urbana was filled with so many people coming to pay their respects to the family of the fallen officer.
“This is a somber moment and our departments been really feeling the void that LT Aaron Landers has left. Not only internally to the department, his friends, his coworkers, those that he supported and mentored, but the community, the community is feeling a great void,” Chief Cary said.
A community is grieving the loss of a fallen police officer.
“Everyone’s feeling this. Whether they knew Aaron or not, they’re feeling it. Aaron meant that much to this community,” Chief Cary said.
U of I Police Lieutenant Aaron Landers was killed August 22nd in Champaign. He was off duty, riding his motorcycle, when he was hit by another vehicle. He leaves behind a wife and two children, as well as plenty of other loved ones and his fellow officers.
“Aaron was one of the first persons I met when I came into the police department and right off the bat in talking to him I thought what a great guy. A person that really cares, and cares about the community and cares about his profession,” Chief Cary said.
Landers had been with UIPD for 24 years and was involved with the East Central Illinois Bomb Squad and METRO/SWAT. He was also a K9 therapy/ comfort handler. Landers also did a lot of work helping those with mental health.
“Aaron is really someone who took interest not only for the community, but for those who are suffering from mental health, and he was really good at what he did with crisis intervention,” Chief Cary said.
So Chief Cary is making sure her officers are set up with counselors as they grieve the loss of their friend and co-worker.
“We want to make sure that their health and wellness is well taken care of because everyone grieves differently, and so we want to make sure that they’re healthy on the street and its difficult. Everyone has a void here and their hearts are breaking,” Chief Cary said.
While the pain is still there, Chief Cary says she wants the community to remember the person Lieutenant Landers was.
“Aaron went out on the top of his game, and I got that quote from his father. Its one of the first things his father told me. He went out doing something he had passion for and that’s something that this community should be proud of,” Chief Cary said.
Funeral services will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Vineyard Church in Urbana. The burial will follow at Patterson Cemetery in St. Joseph.