Peoria police officer summits Mount Kilimanjaro, honors fallen officers

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Peoria officer Hermans (Source: Peoria Police Department) Peoria officer Hermans (Source: Peoria Police Department)
Peoria officer Hermans (Source: Peoria Police Department) Peoria officer Hermans (Source: Peoria Police Department)

Peoria Police Officer Paul Hermans recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to honor fallen officers.

Hermans said he has taken part in other Cops on Top hikes, but this climb was a trip with a friend.

"I did proudly display my Cops on Tops flag on the summit on [sic] Kilimanjaro as an honor to all fallen police officers," he said.

The Peoria Police Department tweeted a photo showing Hermans at the summit of the mountain holding a fallen officer flag that depicts a police badge with a black stripe in the background.

Hermans said he and his friend hiked about 6 miles a day during the six-day guided climb.

"Summit day was the toughest as we began hiking at 1am [sic] and reached the summit just before sunrise," he said.  

Kilimanjaro stands at 19,340 feet above sea level, making it the tallest mountain in Africa.

The mountain is located in northern Tanzania, near the border with Kenya.

Cops on Top, the group with which Hermans has climbed on previous occasions, was founded by Capt. Keith McPheeters of the Farmington, NM Police Department after a manhunt for the killers of a Colorado police officer in 1998. That operation was one of the biggest of its kind, covering the Four Corners area of Utah. Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

"During those months, McPheeters reflected on of the nature of his occupation, the public's perception of a police officer's work, and the effect such a loss has on an officer's survivors," explains the Cops on Top website.

It's from those musing that Cop on Top came to be, 

"Cops on Top is a team of volunteers from the law enforcement and public safety community, who undertake mountain climbing expeditions to honor the memories of those heroes who have lost their lives in the line of duty protecting others," according to the organization's website.

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