ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A Minnesota corrections officer who died on the job last week was laid to rest Tuesday.
The funeral service for Corrections Office Joseph Parise was held at Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel. The Navy veteran leaves behind a pregnant wife two-year-old daughter. He is being remembered as man who lived to help others.
Parise died last Monday while working at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights. The corrections officer rushed to help a fellow guard who was being attacked by an inmate.
Officials said when Parise returned to his post a short time later, he suffered a medical emergency and died at the hospital. His official cause of death has not been released, but he is the second prison guard to die on duty in just over two months.
AFSCME, the union representing corrections officers, says safer conditions need to be in place and that staffing shortages are putting prison workers at risk. Inmate assaults of officers are up at most of the state's prisons this year, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections. In some cases, assaults more than doubled.
Parise’s funeral service was attended by many of his fellow guards as well as Governor Mark Dayton and members of law enforcement. Dayton ordered flags to fly at half-staff Tuesday in honor of Parise.
"Joe died bringing safety to others," said friend Scott Roemer. "He leaves this world a symbol of love and heroism."
Coworker James Carter said Parise always had his back.
"Watching over your partner, ensuring that everyone goes home safely to their family at the end of the day, that was the code that Joe both lived and died by," he said.
The service was followed by a procession and internment at Fairview Cemetery in Stillwater.