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LEBANON, Ohio - The prayers for Sergeant Brian Dulle and his family are spreading fast around Warren County.
Church signs in Lebanon send out messages of peace for the Sergeant who leaves behind a wife, three young children, and a close extended family.
The flags are at half-staff at Warren County offices and black ribbons were distributed to people who work there.
The sheriff is so upset by the loss of his deputy, he has to pause to hold back tears when he talks about the 36-year-old sergeant and how difficult it was to notify his family of what happened.
"Brian was a tremendous worker," said the Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims.
Sims said Dulle also liked to have fun, often taking part in practical jokes people would play on each other at the sheriff's office. Sims said it was part of the camaraderie of the department.
Dulle is a graduate of Edgewood High School in Butler County. He served in the Army.
He was hired by the former Sheriff Tom Ariss in 1999. Ariss, who is now a county commissioner, said he feels like he's lost a son.
"It's a family. For the boss, you lost a son," he said.
Ariss also described Dulle as "One of the good guys. Everybody liked him."
Dulle is the father of 10-year-old Madeline, 7-year-old Emma, and 4-year-old Jackson.
Many people in the community got to know Dulle through his oldest daughter, Madeline who has battled cancer most of her life. She's a fourth grader in Springboro Schools and is now cancer free. The Dulle's started a non-profit organization called Maddie's Hope. It has drawn hundreds of people together for fundraisers.
Maddie's Hope has become one of the largest fundraisers for the local Butterfly Walk, which raises money for pediatric cancer research. The Maddie's Hope Facebook page is getting hundreds of hits with people writing blessings for the family.
The family released a statement that said, in part, "Thanks to everyone for all their thoughts and prayers. Everyone is asking what they can do, unfortunately right now there isn't a lot that anyone can do. Everything that everyone has done is greatly appreciated by the Brian Dulle family."
One of the chaplains for the sheriff's office expects difficult times for everyone who knew Dulle.
Employees at the sheriff's office and the 911 dispatch center are getting counseling to help with the grief.
"You can't just take the day off now," said Chaplain Bill Hounshell. "We can't stop. We have a job to do."
That's why Hounshell said it's important that everyone gets the help they need.
Springboro School leaders are also making grief counselors available for classmates of Dulle's two older children.
Funeral plans are pending.
Warren County's annual police memorial ceremony was already scheduled for Friday. The sheriff said it's too early to say how that will be handled now.
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