August 11, 2010

Wyoming Police Chief Funeral

By Eric Shangraw

August 11, 2010 Updated Aug 11, 2010 at 7:43 PM CDT

This is a sad summer in the small town of Wyoming.

A three-year old resident drowned two weeks ago.

A well-known attorney was killed Monday in a car accident.

And Wednesday morning the community of 1,500 buried its police chief.

Eric Shangraw reports.

More than 60 uniformed officers from law enforcement agencies throughout Central Illinois came to Wyoming Wednesday morning. Even though most didn't personally know Chief Bill Bauer, they share a common bond and are here with purpose.

"To show a support with follow officers from around the area. The chief gave his life, the ultimate sacrifice. As a way to show respect for him and the family," said Henry Police Sergeant Steve Weaver.

Bauer was killed Friday in a car accident. Residents who had interacted with Bauer, say he was a fair cop, who helped make the town feel like a fictional Mayberry.

"You cold leave your bikes out at night. Your doors don't have to be locked. He taught these kids respect. You don't see that in Peoria. Or anywhere else. These kids really respected the law and respected Bill Bauer," said Wyoming resident Jim Brown.

Bauer pulled a three-year old girl out of a pool and gave her mouth to mouth resuscitation in an unsuccessful attempt to save her life in late July. Local firefighters say he often was first on the scene and the last to leave.

"He was always just right there to help. He would just jump in and help us out. Wherever we needed him. You couldn't ask for a better guy around town. As far as a local police officer," said volunteer firefighter Bryan Down.

In a final nod to the chief, his processional made one final pass by the Wyoming police department. Then through the downtown he patrolled before heading to the cemetery.

The chief leaves behind a wife, three children, and according to residents, a community made better by his service.

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