Funeral held for Gary Police Officer Jeffrey Westerfield

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No charges have been filed yet in the death of Gary Police Officer Jeffrey Westerfield, who was laid to rest Monday in Schererville, Ind. (WLS)

Hundreds of police officers joined family and friends in paying their respects to Gary Police Officer Jeffrey Westerfield, who was fatally shot while on duty last week.

His flag-draped casket was placed in the center of the stage Monday at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, Ind. His funeral will be followed by a procession to the Chapel Lawn Cemetery in Schererville.

Law enforcement officials from Indiana, Illinois and elsewhere were in attendance. White carnations with a red dot were pinned to their uniforms.

"The white carnation represents a good life and a good career. And the red dot symbolizes the bloodshed that Jeff shed for this community and this country," Joe Hamer, Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, said.

"Jeff was not a hero because he gave his life," Chaplain Dwayne Lewis said. "Jeff was a hero long before that."

His daugther was one of several people who spoke at Westerfield's funeral.

"Now, he's gone," Allie Westerfield said, "but I know that I have my Gary Police Department family."

Officer Westerfield was shot to death in his police cruiser on Sunday, July 6, which was his 47th birthday. A person of interest is in custody at Lake County Jail, but charges have not been filed.

"We are close, and things will be developing in the next few days," Lake County, Ind., Sheriff John Buncich said.

Deputy Police Chief Larry McKinley says Westerfield was known to many as "the mayor of Black Oak" for his work in the neighborhood on Gary's southwest side where he lived and patrolled.

Westerfield is survived by four daughters, a son and his fiancee. The 19-year police veteran was known as a soft spoken officer who was great at his job.

"Jeff Westerfield was one of my training officers, probably one of the best training officers I've had," said Cmdr. Pete Sormaz, Gary Police Department.

He was also an Army veteran.

The Lake County Sheriff in Indiana has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.
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