CHICAGO (CBS) — Flags across Illinois were lowered to half-staff on Wednesday in honor of fallen Chicago Police Officer Ella French, while family, friends, and colleagues paid respects at her wake.

Visitation for Officer French began at 3 p.m. Wednesday at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel at 7740 S. Western Ave. Her funeral follows Thursday morning at 10 a.m., also at St. Rita.

READ MORE: Chicago Bears Reportedly Expected To Sign Chiefs Exec Ryan Poles As New GM

As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, there was a long procession before Officer French’s body was brought into the chapel. The line of visitors kept growing as the afternoon went on.

There were tears and hugs as everyone showed their respects for Officer French. She was the first female CPD officer to die in the line of duty since 2000 – when Officer Alane Stoffregen drowned during a training exercise – and the first female officer to be killed in a homicide in the line of duty since Officer Irma Ruiz was shot and killed on the Near West Side on Sept. 22, 1988.

Some of Officer Ruiz’s loved ones were in attendance for Officer French’s visitation.

The day started with Officer French’s casket arriving around noon. It was draped in a Chicago flag, with a crowd of her fellow Chicago Police officers saluting her as her body was taken into the chapel.

Soon afterward, Officer French’s close family was ushered inside. People coming out of the chapel said they were deeply saddened for her loved ones.

In the crowd were both current and retired CPD officers, who know the dangers of the job as they wear that police badge.

Graves spoke to one retired officer who had a hard time explaining her feelings.

“Well at one time, I was outside on the street such as Officer French – I mean just hours on the street; months on the street,” said retired Officer Stephanie Jordan. “Is there a comparison? The comparison is I know what she went through as far as her experience is concerned – and then it’s just devastating. It’s just devastating. And I can’t – again, words cannot describe that. I don’t know what else to say. I mean it’s like, the emotions that I have – I can’t describe them. I’m trying to hold my composure.”

“It’s hard for women officers, because we have to use all of our strength and our smarts in order to stay, you know, safe,” added retired CPD Officer Jacqueline Spaargaren.

Officer French’s killing has also affected brothers and sisters in blue from across the country. Among those at the visitation Wednesday was Detective Willy Tiburcio of the Passaic, New Jersey Police Department.

“We all wake up with the same mission every day – protect and serve,” Tiburcio said. “Sometimes things unfortunate happen, and we’re just here to show support from Passaic, New Jersey.”

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown also stopped by to pay their respects.

Outside the line in front of the chapel, an electronic billboard was set up with Officer French on it. Her picture was large as life, and it had the words, “Thank you for your service.”

READ MORE: University Of Chicago Holding Safety Meeting In Wake Of Violent Crimes Near Campus

The wake continues until 9 p.m. A special gathering of police officers was held at 7 p.m.

French and her partner, Officer Carlos Yanez – both of the CPD Community Safety Team – were shot during a traffic stop in West Englewood earlier this month.

French was killed and Yanez was seriously wounded.

Yanez was shot in the eye, and left paralyzed with a bullet lodged in his brain. He remains in the hospital.

A huge vigil for French and Yanez was held Tuesday night at the Ogden (10th) District police station in Lawndale, where Carlos Yanez Sr. said his son told him he loved him when they spoke just 20 minutes before the shooting on Aug. 7.

“A simple traffic stop turned into a tragedy. Yes, us here will never forget Ella or the other officers that come before her, and my son – but the people will, because they don’t feel the pain we feel,” said Carlos Yanez Sr.

At the vigil, Yanez Sr. shared his son’s long recovery ahead.

“I still did know my son was going to make it. They told me, ‘Doesn’t look good,’” Yanez Sr. said. “He’s got two shots in the head – one in the brain, one in the eye. But he’s still fighting. He’s still trying to live for his son – 3-year-old son – Carlos III.”

French’s brother, Andrew French, shared his giant loss.

“She loved hard and she love this city. She loved everything about it except for the nasty parts that we all know. And she made a point of becoming a police officer to try and change those things,” Andrew French said.

Two brothers have been charged in the shooting.

Emonte Morgan, aka Monte Morgan, is charged with one count of first-degree murder of a peace officer, two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

His brother, Eric Morgan, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and obstruction of justice.

MORE NEWS: St. Charles Woman Files Suit Against Dog Owners, Says Rottweilers Attacked Her 'Like A Chew Toy'