Officer Kerrie Orozco
Omaha Police Department
End of Watch: 5/20/2015
From childhood, Kerrie Orozco approached the world with gusto – an eager curiosity and a drive to help others. “I don’t know when she slept,” says her mother, Ellen Holtz.
She filled every moment of a life cut short. As a child she ran track and played softball, basketball and volleyball. She joined the band, choir, the National Honor Society, the Girl Scouts and the 4H Club. Becoming an Omaha, Nebraska police officer didn’t slow her down. She threw herself into volunteer opportunities such as teaching her fellow officers to speak Spanish, coaching sports programs and raising money for various related charities. She co-founded the Omaha Police Officers Ball, raising $10,000 for Special Olympics Nebraska in its first year. She was named Volunteer of the Year. “It was just a calling to help people,” Ellen says.
She still found time for other jobs. She was working security at a bar in south Omaha when she was introduced to Hector Orozco. Before she got out of the parking lot that night, she was already thinking about their future.
They married, making her stepmother to his children, Natalia and Santiago. Kerrie became pregnant, giving birth to Olivia three months prematurely and weighing 2 pounds, 7 ounces. With Olivia gaining strength in the NICU, Kerrie kept working, saving her maternity leave for when her daughter could come home. On her last day of work before bringing her baby girl home, Kerrie was shot and killed while serving an arrest warrant on May 20, 2015. She was 29.
She was laid to rest on May 26, 2015 – Olivia’s original due-date. The Omaha police posthumously named her Policewoman of the Year and the Kerrie Orozco Volunteer Service Award was created in her memory, given out at the annual ball she co-founded, as was the Kerrie On award, given annually to an Omaha police academy cadet deemed most like Orozco. The baseball field where she coached was refurbished, thanks to $1.7 million in donations, and renamed in her honor.
Olivia is 8 now. “She’s got Kerrie’s laugh, and she crinkles her nose like Kerrie and has the same sense of humor,” Ellen says. “She’s a little spitfire like Kerrie.”