Ball State professor reflects on the life of Officer Eric Talley

MUNCIE, Ind. (NewsLink) -- Monday, March 22, at around 3 P.M. in Boulder, Colorado, Officer Eric Talley responded to 9-1-1 calls at the King Soopers grocery store.

"Officer Talley responded to the scene was the first on the scene and he was fatally shot," said Chief Maris Herold of the Boulder Police Department.

As the news of his death was released, sympathies and remembrance started flowing. Talley was an officer with the department since 2010 and was known around the department for his kindness and selflessness. President Joe Biden seconded that and referred to Talley as an American hero.

"He thought he'd be coming home to his family and his seven children.  But when the moment the act came, officer Talley did not hesitate in his duty, making the ultimate sacrifice in his effort to save lives. That's the definition of an American hero," said Biden.

Memorials of his death started popping up all over the country. 

Colorado police set his police car outside of the station as a memorial to him and held a rolling vigil for him Monday night. President Biden also ordered that flags should be flown at half staff in remembrance of the victims until sunset on March 27. His death caused many of his fellow officers to reflect on his life.

But Colorado wasn’t the only place where Talley left his mark on people’s lives. 

Talley was an alumni of Ball State University. He attended the Center for Information and Communication Sciences, which he graduated from in 2004. Even though he was a student here over ten years ago, his professors still remembered his outstanding personality, which made his death even more shocking.

"When I read the Wall Street [Tuesday] morning and I saw his picture in the paper, I almost had a heart attack," said Stephan Jones, director of the CICS graduate program here at Ball State.

Jones is not only connected to Talley through the university, but also holds a much more personal connection.

"Eric sent me a three page freaking email that I had to scroll down to keep reading, asking if it would be okay if he named his first son after me," said Jones.

Jones said Talley was an unbelievably hard worker while at Ball State, juggling full time jobs and starting a family.

"He was a nontraditional when he came through our program. He was married, three kids, I think his wife was pregnant in his last year with us. Worked full time… I know what it’s like. Three of my four degrees I did while I was married with children and the difficulty of doing that and being successful at it was very very challenging.so you know his integrity was exceptional in engaging with his graduate studies,” said Jones.

Jones also reflected on Talley’s career.

"He was an engineer… For him to leave a six figure job to go into law enforcement, shows you a lot about his character and what he wanted to do with his life," Jones said. “He would deliver pizzas on the weekends from his [engineering] job in a collared shirt, khaki slacks, driving a minivan and people would say ‘Aren’t you a little old for this?’ he’d go ‘Well, I just want to make sure that my kids are taken care of well.’”

Even though Talley’s life was taken at the age of 51, memories of his life will keep him alive forever.

“I could tell you the day that he brought his son to my office, and I'll probably start crying, he bent down to his son and said ‘Stephan, this is the man that I named you after.’ I fell apart,”said Jones.

Jones asked that the Ball State Community keep Talley’s family in their thoughts.

The university hasn’t responded with any plans about how they will remember Talley.

Watch the report here.

For any comments or concerns, contact emharless@bsu.edu.

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