03/15/2004

'Shocking" HPD Mourns sudden loss of officer

Officer Down: Scott Rice - [Henderson, Kentucky]

Henderson police officers placed black bands across their badges in a sign of mourning and respect for K-9 Officer Scott Rice, who died Thursday afternoon -- roughly a month after being diagnoses with leukemia.
"We are very sad," said Chief Ed Brady. "He was part of our (HPD) family. I know everybody is de- pressed and down about it. It's hard."
"It seems unreal," said Lt. Col. Charlie Young. Everybody's down and unbelieving that Scotty was here four weeks ago and actually working, and he's gone today."
"We knew Scott had his work cut out for him with this diagnosis but he was very positive about it," Brady said. "It's pretty shocking."
The 40-year-old Rice had been with the Henderson Police Department since 1990.
In May of 2001, Rice stepped into the role as K-9 officer, a position that appeared to be perfect for him.
"He bought into being the K-9 handler," Brady said. "He was just cut out for it. He was excel- ling."
Roughly 8 weeks after Rice started training with HPD's dog "Argo", the K-9 team won several awards at the United States Police Canine Association Region 5 Field Trials in Vanderburgh County.
In 2002, Rice and Argo won fifth place overall in regional trials in Heath, ohio. And in 2003, the duo won second place overall in a regional competition in Cookeville, Tennessee.
"Scott really waqnted to be the K-9 officer," said Henderson Police Sgt. Dwight Duncan, a former K-9 officer. "He loved everything about it."
But being the K-9 officer was just one of the things that he loved.
"I think what should be noted about him was that he was a family man," Young said.
"He was always speaking of his wife (Penny) and his two girls (Megan and Mallory). Penny was his life."
With Rice's roughly 14-year history at the police department, many officers barely remember a time when he wasn't around.
Sgt. John Nevels is one of those officers.
"We came on the department about the same time. I worked patrol with him before being promoted to detective," he said.
"Every time I dealt with him, he was an outstand- ing officer, someone you could depend on. I consider him a friend. And I am going to miss him."
Detective Tony Purcell said he and Rice became friends when Rice was assigned to help train Purcell when he first joined the Henderson Police Department.
"He was a good guy and a good good friend," Purcell said. "One of the best things you can say about Scott is that he was always there for his friends".
Lt. David Piller said officers are taking Rice's death pretty hard.
"Everybody knew he was dealing with a serious ill- ness. And everybody was convinced he'd make it through this like he's done everything else," Piller said. "For it too be this sudden, it's a complete shock. There are a lot of motions.
"Scott was good friend and a good officer. He's going to be missed. And the department won't be the same without him."

By; Beth Smith, Gleaner staff.

SCOTT RICE 40, Henderson, died at 1:29 p.m. Thurs-day, March 11, 2004, at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.
He was a police officer with the Henderson Police Department for 14 years, the last four which he served with the K-9 Unit. He was avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed karate and ultralight flying. He was also a U.S. Air Force Veteran.
Survivors include his wife of 18 years, Penny Rice, two daughters, Megan Rice and Mallory Rice, both at home; his father, Kenneth "Hot Shot" Rice of Henderson; his mother and stepfather, Shirley Beth and William H. Shelby of Henderson; one sister, Susan Rice of Henderson; one brother, Keith Rice of Hender-son; one nephew, Tristin Coleman of Henderson; two nieces; and his canine partner, Argo.
Services will be at 11:00 a.m. Monday at Rudy-Row- land Funeral Home. The Rev. Dwight Cox will offici-ate. Burial will be in Roselawn Memorial Gardens, with full military rites performed by the American Legion Worsham Post No. 40.
Friends may call from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday and until service time Monday at the funeral home.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of con- tributions to the American Cancer Society.

Scott Rice "Gone, but Not Forgotten!"
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