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Ithaca police escort Officer Colin's body back home

The Ithaca Police Department is mourning the loss of its youngest — and possibly most inspiring — officer.

The Ithaca Police Department is mourning the loss of its youngest — and possibly most inspiring — officer.

This week, officers are remembering and honoring Colin Hayward Toland, better known in central New York as "Officer Colin."

“He is one of us. He is one of our own and he’s a sworn honorary police officer," said Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler.

Colin, who passed away on Saturday, was the youngest officer on the Ithaca police force.

On Tuesday night Officer Colin's body arrived at the Syracuse Hancock Airport and received a full Police Honor Guard service and and an escort from police back to the Ithaca area.

Calling hours for Colin have been set for 4:30 p.m. Friday at Ithaca High School.

The brain tumor Colin battled was something most adults would find difficult to handle. However, Chief Tyler said he did it with grace.

“Here is a young child that is battling something that most of us can’t comprehend, and he did it with such a poise and a strength that you couldn’t help but be affected by it," Tyler said.

Colin's wish was to be a police officer. About a year ago, the Ithaca Police Department swore him into the force. Chief Tyler said after that, Colin started hanging around the department a little more and affected everybody on the force.

“Colin was able to show us a multitude of positive things that we’re going to be able to take with us and carry in his honor and his memory," Tyler said.

Chief Tyler said Officer Colin connected the department and the community.

As the department mourns, Chief Tyler and his officers wear a black band around their badges to remember one of their own who was taken way too soon.

“I'll try not to get too overwhelmed with sadness because I would like to think that he will always be with us. He’s shown an immense amount of courage and we’re humbled by that,” Tyler said.

The Ithaca Police Department will receive Colin's body at Hancock International Airport on Tuesday night.

Colin's body will be taken by motorcade back to Ithaca.

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