Denzinger legacy grows one year after death - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Denzinger legacy grows one year after death

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Officer Frank Denzinger Officer Frank Denzinger
Tara Denzinger, officer's widow Tara Denzinger, officer's widow

By Mark Schnyder

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) -- The widow of a Floyd County police officer and the community honored his memory Tuesday night. It has been almost a year since Frank Denzinger was shot by a troubled teenager while responding to a domestic disturbance call on June 18, 2007. WAVE 3's Mark Schnyder explains why what happened at a fundraising dinner could help local officers for years to come.

There's now a criminal justice scholarship in Denzinger's name at Indiana University Southeast. That means that Denzinger will be able to continue educating police officers even though he's no longer here.

"Frank would be so proud of this," says Tara Denzinger, Frank's widow.

He would also be so proud of Tara for getting on with her life. She is not only raising their only daughter, 3-year old Avery, but recently graduating from IUS with her own degree in criminal justice. Now there's a criminal justice scholarship in her late husband's name.

"I've told Avery that in a few years she'll be able to look at a few officers when we pass them on the street and know that they are on the street because they were able to go to school because of the sacrifice Daddy made," says Tara.

Officers who loved Frank Denzinger and those who barely knew him were in attendance. We talked to one of each. Mike Meyer is a Clark County Sheriff's officer. He met Denzinger a few times, but in April 2008 he almost met his fate when he was shot.

"When their incident happened, hundreds of officers rushed to help," said Meyer. "And with my incident, same thing, hundreds of officers rushed to help with that situation and it's a great honor to be beside people such as Officer Denzinger."

A Floyd County correctional officer who hopes to be a patrolman one day credits Frank Denzinger for his choosing a career in law enforcement.

"Frank was a mentor to me. He's a hero now," said Andrew Sands. "I started out on a ride-along with him and it completely changed what I wanted to do with my life."

Nearly a year after his death on the job, Denzinger's widow and daughter are completely changed, too. But Tara isn't interested in anyone's pity. She says she's moving on the way she knows her husband would have wanted her to.

"Avery's doing well. She's definitely angry at this point but doing well. I think we're doing better than most people would expect," said Tara.

Applications for the scholarship are already going in to IUS. They expect to award their first Frank Denzinger criminal justice scholarship this summer and try to continue to give one out each year.

Online Reporter:  Mark Schnyder

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway