Missouri’s governor has ordered flags to fly at half-staff at all government buildings in southwest Missouri’s Laclede County on Saturday, to honor a Lebanon police officer who’s died from COVID.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson says
Lebanon Police officer Kendle Blackburn died from COVID on December 28, 2020 (photo courtesy of the Lebanon Police Department’s Facebook page)

Governor Mike Parson says Officer Kendle Blackburn contracted COVID in November, while serving in his capacity as an officer. Officer Blackburn died on Monday.

“My years in law enforcement taught me that those who wear the badge are often called to the profession because of their desire to protect others and improve their communities,” Governor Parson says, in a written statement. “Officer Kendle Blackburn was that kind of police officer. Known as the friendliest police officer in Lebanon, he was one who loved people. May his legacy serve as a model for other officers, and may we all be inspired by the support the community has shown for Officer Blackburn’s family and fellow officers during this difficult time.”

The Lebanon Police Department’s Facebook page says Mr. Blackburn fought a tough battle with COVID, adding that the department appreciates everything that was done to support the officer while he was in the hospital.

“He was the example of community policing and his life touched so many others in a positive way,” the Lebanon Police Facebook post reads, in part.

Governor Parson’s proclamation says Mr. Blackburn served as a law enforcement officer for more than 21 years, starting in 1999 with the Laclede County Sheriff’s Department. He then moved to the Lebanon Police Department, where he served for more than 16 years.

Lebanon, which has about 15,000 residents, is located near I-44. It’s northeast of Springfield.

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