When A Police Officer Dies In The Line Of Duty

Jim Luff
Posted on July 8, 2015
Since our company started in 1990, we have always supported local law enforcement and created a good working relationship with them. We are sponsors of numerous youth oriented programs and officer support programs for our local police, sheriff and highway patrol agencies.


Recently, Bakersfield Police Officer David J. Nelson made the ultimate sacrifice when he was tragically killed in a car accident while involved in a high-speed chase. Officer Nelson will be the eighth officer to die since we began operations. We have been involved in every single funeral providing vehicles for spouses, parents and siblings of the fallen officers.

Officer funerals have protocols and are highly charged with emotion and décor While tragedy prevails, there is also a sense of honor to be a part of the last respects for the ultimate sacrifice. Officers wear their finest Class A uniforms that are rarely seen in public except for such occasions.

The vehicle procession allows the community to stand at attention and salute the officer and their families as we pass by. Every news media outlet for miles around is there to capture the moment. The officer’s patrol car sits on display near the gravesite and a final call is broadcast over the P.A. system of the patrol car in a somber moment as the dispatcher repeatedly calls the officer and finally pronounces the officer’s “end of watch."

While each funeral is basically the same, they are all unique. My first officer funeral was California Highway Patrol Officer Richard Maxwell. Maxwell was gunned down in an ambush. I personally chauffeured his widow and young daughter and was moved to tears as citizens pulled off the roadway and saluted the officer and his family as we traveled to the cemetery in a line of 200+ patrol vehicles with swirling lights.

Since that first funeral, I have driven for five officers killed in car accidents and three who died of illness. Officer Nelson was not from Bakersfield so his funeral was held in his hometown of Burbank, Calif. He was escorted home by Bakersfield Police, California Highway Patrol and Burbank Police, the agency where Nelson began his law enforcement career.
 
We have never charged for our service and would never even consider it for someone who swore to protect and serve our community with a commitment to lay down their life while protecting our citizens. Sometimes you have to forget about the money and just do the right thing from your heart.

Related Topics: accidents, California operators, charity, deaths, funeral business, Jim Luff, law enforcement, Shop Talk blog, special events

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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