TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – It’s a day that will be painful for many in the Wabash Valley.
May the 4th marks one year since the tragic death of one of Terre Haute’s finest. We learned through our coverage about fallen officer Rob Pitts that he meant so much to so many people. And he is missed.
Officer Pitts was assisting his partner responding to a homicide suspect when he paid the ultimate price. This is just one memory that tells the tale of Pfficer Pitts’ dedication and loyalty to the force and his brothers and sisters in arms. We sat down with one man who knew him best on and off the force, but as we learned there wasn’t much of a distinction.
Former Terre Haute police chief and current Vigo County sheriff John Plasse tells me Officer Pitts died doing what he loved.
In a celebrtion of life and 22 year dedicated to the police force, hundreds came to Terre Haute to honor a friend, father, brother, stranger, officer. Rob Pitts a 6 year veteran to Sullivan Police Department, 16 year veteran to the Terre Haute Police Department and member of the street crimes unit was shot and killed May 4th, 2018. He was assisting his partner respond to a homicide suspect. His loyalty was one of his strongest attributes to the force.
“I wish i has 100 more Rob Pitts,” Sheriff Plasse said.
Along with his persistance.
“If you were on that list … You’re the target he needed to find, he was relentless … The was his soul purpose … You know, the sad thing is ultimately that’s what cost him his life.”
WTWO covered the May 9th day-long funeral service in it’s entirety. Some of the most special moments were captured. The Hulman Center filled with law enforcement from around the U.S. and the globe.
Then the procession that gripped the entire community.
Cars lined U.S. 41 all the way from the Hulman Center to Center Ridge Cemetary in Sullivan, Officer Pitts’ hometown.
“When we got to Sullivan, to me it was like no one was anywhere but that route … You know, it doesn’t make you happy to see that but it shows you … It shows you’re not alone and it shows people also share that grief and they’re there to show that his life meant something,” Sheriff Plasse said.
Moments like this that gave Sheriff Plasse some comfort and he’s sure Officer Pitts’ family too. Over some time after his passing these moments continued to grow.
Through vigils, fundraisers, memorials. Officer Pitts son Dakota was escorted by officers on his first day back to Sullivan Elementary. His family received the Kevin Artz Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award on his behalf, a scholarship for local kids looking for careers in law enforcement was started in Rob’s honor. Even a K-9 officer donation who’s name is Pitts.
We asked Sheriff Plasse how Officer Pitts lives on. He referred back to a memory on May 4th 2018. Sheriff Plasse went to the hospital where Officer Pitts was knowing he was already gone.
“Rob’s son was there and he looks exactly like Rob … When I saw him, I smiled and I have to think he probably thought I was nuts because he just lost his father … And I just smiled because I saw Rob in him, it was so obvious and the funny thing is … He smiled as well and I’d never met him before so I said you look so much like your father and he said, ‘well I hear that a lot.'”
Officer Pitts left behind three children, a fiance, two siblings and his parents. His father was also a police officer in Sullivan.