SALEM, Ore. – A state panel on Thursday cleared the way for the family of fallen police officer Rob Libke to get financial support. The money will come from a special fund dedicated to help when officers are killed in the line of duty.
Libke’s pregnant wife will receive a $25,000 check right away to cover immediate expenses.
In the long term, she will receive help paying her mortgage. The couple’s unborn child will also have health insurance and will receive assistance to pay for college tuition.
Libke was a volunteer reserve officer, but the board decided he still met the criteria for his family to receive the help.
"We don’t see the difference. The people wear the same uniforms, they wear a badge and a gun," said Eriks Gabliks, the citizen training director for the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. "Just like a volunteer firefighter wears the same equipment as a career firefighter, this fund is meant to assure public safety providers get the assistance they need."
Libke’s wife is also eligible for federal benefits, which would top out at $300,000. A community fund has also raised more than $30,000 for the family.
"Reserve or not, it doesn't matter. He's front line, he's a first responder," said Joyce Nagy, a forensic artist at the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. "I love the fact that he's getting full benefits, as he should."
Nagy and a team of volunteers worked Thursday to make scores of memorial ribbons. She keeps the supplies hidden away in an old coffee tin.
"I just pray we don't have to get it out again, but Sunday we had to pull it back out," Nagy said.
Celebration of Life
A celebration of life for Libke will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
Police said they will put out more details in coming days on the Oregon City Police Department website, Twitter and Facebook pages.
The police department also has volunteers at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School who can accept flowers and cards for Libke’s family. They will be there each day through next Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Monetary donations can be made through Clackamas Federal Credit Union.
Flags at Half Staff
Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions be flown at half-staff on Thursday, Nov. 14, in Libke's honor.
"I ask Oregonians across the state to join me in honoring the bravery and sacrifice of Officer Robert Libke," he said. "Though we mourn the loss of Officer Libke, and send our prayers to his family and friends, we know that his courage and deep commitment to Oregon City will not be forgotten."