Losing a member of law enforcement or corrections department in the line of duty is a reminder of the dangers they face daily. Senior Correctional Officer Ron Johnson paid the ultimate price during an attempted prison escape; and now his fellow brothers and sisters are making sure he gets the sendoff he deserves.
"Ron was still in the law enforcement family and it's a brother that we've lost," Sioux Falls Police Department Sergeant Loren McManus said.
But, not a brother who will be forgotten. The funeral for the 23-year veteran of the correctional department will be similar to that of a fallen law enforcement officer. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend, including Patriot Guard Riders and fellow corrections and law enforcement officers.
"We have many officers on our department that worked with and under Mr. Johnson. They'll want to be there to show their respects," McManus said.
The Sioux Falls Police Department and South Dakota Highway Patrol will have honor guard teams assisting the National Correctional Peace Officer Foundation with duties which may include presenting the flag, and escorting the body to its final resting place.
"There's a certain amount of pomp and circumstance, if you will, that goes along with a law enforcement funeral. Some of the honor guard movements we do are there for specific reasons. That does add to the pageantry of the event; that's what provides the final honors and respect that Mr. Johnson deserves," McManus said.
And that'll surround the day with honor for the family and the man who was so dedicated to his job.
"The important thing is that we pay those final respects to honor the work Ron did through his years of service at the penitentiary," McManus said.
The funeral for Officer Johnson is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Saturday at the Ramkota Hotel. He will be buried at the Lone Rock Cemetery near Flandreau.
Corrections officers are currently keeping 24-hour watch over Johnson's body at the Miller Funeral Home as a sign of respect.