Why do people show up in droves for police funerals?
A question posted recently on Quora asked, “Why did the death of NYPD officer Brian Moore prompt a funeral procession with 30,000 officers present?” Former Police Officer Christopher Hawk gave his opinion on the topic, below. Check it out and add your thoughts in the comments.
Many years ago, an Illinois State Trooper died in a very fiery car crash while performing a traffic stop in the Chicago area. I live about 2.5 hours south of Chicago and wanted to pay respects to the trooper. When I attended his funeral, there were officers from at least 30 states (and a few from Canada), along with a sizable assortment of fire fighters and their apparatus. The procession from the church to the cemetery (about a five mile distance) was so long that the hearse arrived at the cemetery before the last vehicle left the staging grounds by the church.
I will never forget the people who got out of their cars and stood in respect as the procession passed them. A whole construction crew came out of a building they were working on and stood with their hard hats over their hearts as we passed by.
Why did I participate in this procession? Because what happened to the trooper could have just as easily happened to any of us. It's not just traffic crashes, either, which are probably as understandable as any other accident that a person might suffer from. It is a recognition that police officers belong to a very select profession where your work may be trying to kill you while you're doing your job. Yes, there are several jobs which have a higher risk than police, but name another job where the danger comes looking for you.
Why do people stand and show respect as the procession goes by? Because the majority of them understand that the officer was working to provide protection to them, even in the most vague and amorphous way.