Community honors fallen reserve officer at football game

OREGON CITY, Ore. - One face was missing from Friday night's football game at Oregon City High School.

Reserve police Officer Rob Libke worked all the games this season until he was killed Sunday. Libke made sure everyone was safe during the games every Friday.

Football players, students and others in attendance honored Libke with a special memorial. They released 475 balloons, a blue one for each officer in Clackamas County and a white one for Libke.

"The fact that we're so supportive of the police department and they do so many great things in our community and in our school that I know it's a great message for these kids," said head Coach Bruce Reece.

Police officers drove about a dozen police cars around the track before the start of the football game in honor of Libke, who was the first police officer to die in the line of duty in Oregon City in 100 years.

The woman who organized the event didn't know Libke. She just wanted to give back.

Shannon Kmetic, is a former prosecutor with a special place in hear heart for law enforcement.

"I just wanted them to know that Oregon City, our community, we just care about them," she said.

Kmetic understands the sacrifice Libke made.

"This could have been them, every single one of them, and they know it," she said.

Oregon City Police Chief Jim Band said they needed this.

"A reminder to me that this community gets it," he said. "I think the support is what we need to feel right now because we need to remember Rob, but we also have a city to protect."

Oregon City High School Associate Principal Kathy Johnson said Libke hadn't missed one of the games in a couple years.

"There was a definite void as I walked by (the gate he stood guard at), but he was one of the most caring, compassionate, genuine individuals," she said.

Libke was an individual who Bob Merwin said was a leader everywhere he went. Merwin was Libke's boss at his day job in a local steel mill.

"I would say I'm completely overwhelmed with not just this but the whole public outpour(ing)," he said.

A hat was also passed around the stands to collect donations for Libke's wife and unborn child.

Another white balloon was also released. That was for a Clackamas County sheriff's deputy named Bill Bowman who was killed in a training exercise in 2000.

A memorial for Libke will be held next Thursday. It's at Memorial Coliseum in Portland. The service will begin at 1 p.m. It is open to the public.