Police funerals in New York City are planned with meticulous attention to detail, each following a similar rhythm even as the officers themselves are remembered in different ways.
This similarity is partly the result of a long tradition within the Police Department. But it also reflects the work of a group of officials who have gone decades behind the planning.
The department’s ceremonial unit has held hundreds of funerals since the late 1980s, ranging from ceremonies for the 23 officers who were killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks in Manhattan to services for dozens. officer died of Covid-19 when the pandemic raged. past two years.
But in the early months of the pandemic, the familiar cadence of services – with packed crowds inside houses of worship and period ceremonies – was temporarily dropped, as police officials started holding memorial services outside as a safety precaution.
“It was different,” Lieutenant Jamel Hodges, a former commanding officer of the unit, said in a television interview in the fall of 2020. “But our family members were very happy.”
“We planted trees at our officers’ mansions, which we never did at the NYPD,” he said. “We had overpasses at our officers’ homes because they weren’t allowed to hold funerals.”
The ceremonial unit also holds ceremonies other than those to mark the death of an officer, including graduation and promotion events, parades and annual Medals Day ceremonies, when officers are honored for heroic deeds. But funerals have a special meaning, with the initial logistics starting to quickly come together after an officer dies.
As officer ranks have become more diverse in recent years – changing the face of a police force – the unit’s plans are also beginning to take on a different face to accommodate a variety of religious backgrounds. more education and language.
“This department was a very Catholic division many years ago,” said Lt. Tony Giorgio, a longtime former leader of the unit, said in 2014. “Over the years, we have had to diversify our unit, get used to these other religions. We must know those services. Sometimes they are in Hebrew. Spanish. It could be an Asian language”.
He noted that some families, wishing to mourn quietly and out of public view, do not want a large funeral. But, he added: “They always come back and say, ‘That day is a day I’ll never forget.’
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/nyregion/the-police-unit-behind-officer-riveras-funeral-has-planned-hundreds-of-services.html The police unit behind Officer Rivera’s funeral planned hundreds of services.