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Remembering Lt. Rian Rider and his dedication to helping domestic violence victims

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(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A Montgomery Police officer who died after rescuing his niece from a rip current in the waters off Orange Beach will be laid to rest today. Lieutenant Rian Rider's funeral will be held at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery at 2 PM. It will be streamed live on the church's website.

Black ribbons are hung on the sign out front of the One Place Family Justice Center; it's a small sign of the difficult few days the people inside have faced.  They're mourning the loss of a co-worker, a leader, and a friend.

The center puts all services to help domestic violence victims under one roof, including police, prosecutors, medical attention, and information about safe places to stay.  It's a place Lt. Rider spent a lot of time because of his work as the commander of the domestic violence unit at MPD. It was so important to him that his family requested donations be sent there in lieu of flowers.

His coworkers at One Place FJC are remembering his legacy and his dedication to helping victims of domestic violence.

"Lt. Rider was our supervisor, and the last couple of days have been tough," said Corporal Brian Dixon, a member of the domestic violence division. "He always came in every morning and talked to each of us, made us laugh.  Before he went on vacation, he said, ‘Y'all behave, and I'll see you when I get back.' He will be missed by everyone," Dixon added.

Member of his unit, including the directors at One Place, met Tuesday morning for the first time since his death.  Many shed tears and shared good memories of Lt. Rider.

D'Shana Snyder, a detective investigator with the division, said, "Every time we step in the building, he is going to be on our mind.  He will always be with us.  We will always be able to hear his voice and his laugh, especially his laugh.  It's inspiring to us. It was inspiring to us when he was here, and it will continue to inspire us."

They describe him as having tireless dedication to victims of domestic violence-- a man who made them strive every day to learn more, work harder, and be better.

"He came to work every day not just to serve victims and the community and to make Montgomery a safer place, but he wanted to do it better every day.  That was the Rian Rider that all of us knew and that all of us loved," said J. Seth Gowan.  Gowan is a Deputy District Attorney in Montgomery County, and also worked on the domestic violence unit.

Steve Searcy, the Executive Director of One Place Family Justice Center said Rider had only been with the center for a year, but in his short time, he made a big impact.

Earlier this year, he started a new program called HALT, which works to prevent domestic violence cases from escalating into extreme violence and death. 

"That will continue to be a beacon of shining light for victims and will hopefully save victims' lives.  Rian developed a case management system for that.  He was so organized, and he just knew how to get things done," said Searcy.

 The center plans to keep growing that program in Lt. Rider's honor.  Usually, every Wednesday afternoon, Rider led a HALT program meeting to talk about cases.  Today, that group will be attending his funeral during that time.

The One Place Family Justice Center says they are planning on some kind of lasting memorial for Lt. Rider, although they don't know what that might be just yet.  "We are in the process of working on a way to remember Rian in a very positive, long term, and lasting way. We'll be letting everyone know about that in the coming days," said Searcy.     If you would like to make a donation in Lt. Rider's name, you can call the One Place Family Justice Center at 334- 262-7378.

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