Just three months shy of his retirement, Show Low police officer Darrin Reed responded to a disturbance call at the Days Inn in Show Low on Nov. 8, 2016 — and never made it home.

Shot and killed by convicted felon Daniel Erickson of Phoenix, who was shot dead after a lengthy standoff with law enforcement, Reed, 50, left a wife, son and daughter to mourn him — along with an entire White Mountain community and his brothers and sisters in blue all over the country.

On Monday — the fifth anniversary of his death — Reed will be remembered with a “Celebration of Life and Legacy of Service” organized by the Show Low Police Department to honor their fallen brother. The event will take place at 6 p.m. at Show Low Public Safety headquarters, located at 411 E. Deuce of Clubs.

“We’re not doing a candlelight vigil,” said Kristine Sleighter, community relations director for the Show Low Police Department. “We’re trying to move away from something somber and sad, and highlight his celebration of life and legacy of service.”

Reed, who was a much-loved and respected member of the Show Low Police Department, had previously served his country as a security forces officer with the U.S. Air Force. He also served with the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office for ten years before joining the Show Low force.

“The focus will be a celebration of life and honoring him, instead of the tragedy that happened,” said Reed’s widow Cathy.

After her husband’s death, she established The Darrin Reed Foundation, which was set up to aid the community in the way Reed had, as a law enforcement officer.

“At work, if he ran into a situation and needed to help somebody, he would do it out of his own pocket,” she said. “So we wanted the officers to be able to do those things and help people, but have it not come out of their own pockets. So the fund can be used for that.”

It also provides the tools to fight drug trafficking, as well as s program, now in its third year, to provide gift cards to needy families, based on law enforcement recommendations, she said.

“This year, we’re doubling the number of families we’re helping,” she added.

There is also a scholarship fund associated with the foundation that was established in 2017 by veterans agencies, Show Low Police Department and Cathy Reed to help any high school graduates in the White Mountains with college funds.

“We’ve held five dinners (for the graduates) so far, and given out $10,000 awards to students.”

Two of the recipients are a nursing student who is now in Texas, and another who is in the Naval Academy.

At the time of Darrin’s death, then-Show Low Police Chief Joe Shelley promised Cathy that Show Low police officers and their families would always be there for her.

The department has made good on that promise. In fact, the entire community has offered support since Reed died, his widow said.

“People of this community have been so supportive. I don’t know of another community anywhere in the country that could have been more supportive than our own, here in the White Mountains,” she said.

In the five years since they lost their father, Reed’s children have gone on in ways that would have made him proud.

Daughter Cheryl lives in Texas, and has three living children, having lost a fourth.

Son Chance, now 25, also lives in Texas, where he works as a police officer, following in his father’s footsteps.

“He’s nearing two years there,” Cathy Reed said. “His whole life, he was surrounded by law enforcement, people involved in the police department in some way. He was in Police Explorers from the age of 14, worked with Show Low PD to create a cadet program and was in that as well, and at 21, he became an advisor. So law enforcement has always just been part of his life.”

The remembrance event to honor Darrin Reed will be followed by refreshments in the Darrin Reed Community Room.

Becky Knapp is a lifelong journalist who has worked at newspapers in Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Florida. Reach the reporter at bknapp@wmicentral.com

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You are remembered and respected S.L.P.D. Officer Darrin Reed.

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