Garden in Newport News dedicated to fallen Officer Katie Thyne

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been six months since Newport News Police Officer Katie Thyne was killed in the line of duty.

Her memory still lives on in the community, however, in the form of a community garden named after Thyne.

You’ll find fruits vegetables at the community garden by the Parkview Baptist Church in Newport News, but you’ll also find a safe space to remember and honor a woman who gave her life serving the community.

Every Newport News recruit class spends one week out in the community learning what they need. 

Two years ago, class number 20 — the same class Thyne trained in — had an idea.

“They’re in the neighborhoods and talking to citizens and they bring up this concept of a community garden. It was just words then, and look at it two years later,” Chief Steve Drew said.

“You’ve seen over and over how she helped the community, how she interacted with people in a positive manner,” said Lt. Jeff Barefoot, the lieutenant at the training academy.

He says this new class learns from her actions as an officer.

“And the influence she had and what she left as a legacy in her short brief time with the Newport News Police Department. She was very important to us and we will never forget her,” he added.

So, in a way to keep her memory alive the police department, sheriff’s office and Parkview Baptist Church dedicated the garden in her name.

“I just think the blessing of thinking that people some of the folks who are the most needy in our city will be getting the fruit from this garden. That … is such a beautiful way of remembering. It’s an ongoing thing instead of just someplace where you come and look at a plaque or a memorial,” said Pastor Rusty Beck.

Now, anytime people can grow food and give back to their community in her name. 

It’s something Drew says they’ll treasure forever.

“This will serve as a reminder much like monuments and pictures of her in our headquarters and cars and letters, but this, this is people coming out and working together in her memory and it is very humbling and I don’t take it for granted,” he said.

The fruits and vegetables are not going to waste. They will be donated to local food banks and homeless shelters.

Also on Monday, the man accused in Thyne’s death waived his right to a detention hearing, so he will stay in custody until his trial. He is scheduled for arraignment at 3 p.m. Thursday.

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