The rituals and traditions of a law enforcement officer’s funeral are both moving and meaningful. They provide closure and comfort to both the family and the law enforcement community. The proceedings usually begin with the gathering of law enforcement officers from neighboring agencies. Today, for Deputy Barbara Pill’s funeral, thousands of police, deputies, troopers, firefighters and other sworn personnel gathered and stood in formation for almost 2 hours in preparation for the service.
Marion Pellicano Ambrose
Marion Pellicano Ambrose
It took over half an hour for all these men and women to file into
After the service ended in prayer, everyone was dismissed to re form outside. At that time, the bagpipes and drums played, which has been a police and fire department tradition since the time when Irish immigrants brought their traditions with them upon immigrating to
A flying formation of Sheriff’s Department copters passed over in the missing man formation to honor Deputy Pill.
The most difficult tradition for me was the official retiring of the officer’s squad number. A dispatcher is heard over the radio trying to get hold of the officer twice. When he or she does not answer, the dispatcher announces that that officer is 10-7, out of service. This is the officer’s “Last Call”.
The American flag that was draped over the coffin is carefully folded and presented to the deceased's next of kin. The traditional triangular fold represents the triangle hat that was worn by Revolutionary War soldiers.
The funeral procession to the cemetery may involve hundreds of police vehicles, as did Deputy Pill’s. Motorcycles, police cars, possibly mounted police and other vehicles escort the body of the officer to his or her final resting place.
It’s an extremely difficult ordeal for both the family of the deceased and the law enforcement community, but these traditions are important. They show the living that we honor our heroes and that their sacrifice was not and will never be forgotten. It helps the family to see the close, loving family ties that exist between those who wear the shield, for it is a true brotherhood that outsiders may never fully comprehend. Barbara Pill’s family is truly a law enforcement family, and they knew the dangers and risks that Barbara took each day. Having the amazing show of love, support and brotherhood that took place at Calvary Chapel today, will help them deal with their pain, their loss and the continued sacrifices they will endure as law enforcement officers.
It was a sad, moving, inspiring, day today. May we never have the need for another like it!
"I Can Only Imagine"