PORTAGE — The city is mourning the loss of 28-year veteran police officer Jeff Podgorski.

Podgorski died Tuesday after a prolonged battle with cancer, Police Chief Troy Williams said.

He served as a patrol officer, field training officer, SWAT team member and most recently as a detective, Williams said. Podgorski was a U.S. Army veteran, having served during the Gulf War.

"He was an excellent officer and able to diffuse situations with his calm demeanor and friendly approach," Williams said. "He will truly be missed by the entire Portage Police Department family, and we extend our heartfelt sorrow to his family on his passing and our deep gratitude for his service to the community."

Fellow officers paid tribute to Podgorski on Tuesday by standing at attention on the Ind. 249 overpass over Interstate 94 as Podgorski's body was transported from the hospital to a Michigan City funeral home, Williams said.

In addition, police have stationed a squad car in front of the station on Central Avenue decked in black and blue bunting in recognition of Podgorski and his service.

Podgorski is survived by his wife, Debbie, and son, James.

Funeral services are pending at Ott/Haverstock Funeral Chapel, 418 Washington St., Michigan City.