Son of Fallen Officer Delivers Heartfelt Words at Funeral: 'We've Got the Watch From Here'


On April 25, Cpl. Eugene Cole became the first law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in Maine since 1989.

The 61-year-old was shot while working the early morning shift for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. The alleged gunman is currently being held without bail after a four-day manhunt.

Over 10,000 people showed up to pay their final respects to the fallen officer. Cpl. Cole had served in the department for 13 years.

Before the funeral, crowds lined the streets as the procession of 40 police vehicles brought Cole’s body from Skowhegan, Maine, to Bangor, Maine, for the funeral. When the procession traveled through Bangor, law enforcement cruisers lines the road and officers saluted the hearse passing by.

“This is going to be a major step towards closure for the family,” Maine Service Warden Cpl. John MacDonald said. “With all the events that took place in the last 10 and 11 days, with the manhunt going on, I think today will be a time where people can reflect on Eugene, honor his work history and personal life. It’s going to be a major portion of the family, and really the community’s, closure.”

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Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster was one of many speakers at the funeral attended by approximately 3,600 people.

“Gene worked every day to make Somerset County and Norridgewock a safer place to live,” Lancaster said. “In the early morning hours of April 25, Gene paid the ultimate sacrifice. He lost his life performing his sworn duties while protecting the citizens of Somerset County.”

“Goodbye, for now, my friend. We will never forget you.”

Deputy David Cole, Cpl. Cole’s son, also spoke at the funeral, talking about a few memories he has had of his dad, and how hard it was telling his mother that his father died. But he had words of encouragement for her, and the rest of the community.

“You’ve reached the end of an amazing chapter. And just like in any good book you can go back and think about your favorite parts. But the next chapter is already being written,” he said. “You don’t have to write it alone.”

And after serving with his father on the police force, his nine closing words echo in the hearts of anyone who heard them.

“Rest easy dad, we’ve got the watch from here.”

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At the end of the service, Cpl. Cole received a 21-gun salute and his family was presented with an American flag. The tribute was concluded with a flyover by the Maine State Police, Maine Warden Service, Maine Marine Patrol, and Maine Forest Service in honor of the fallen officer.

Our hearts are with Cpl. Cole’s family during this difficult time.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith