Thousands say goodbye to fallen officer Daryl Raetz


by Crystal Cruz and Andrew Michalscheck

Video report by Crystal Cruz and Tess Rafols

Posted on May 25, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 5:24 PM

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz was laid to rest Saturday.

More than 3,000 people said their goodbyes at the Christ Church of the Valley in Peoria.

Raetz's wife and 5-year-old daughter, Tatum, followed the casket into the ceremony flanked by hundreds of Phoenix police officers.

Police Chief Daniel Garcia described the tragic hit and run death of one of his officers as "heartbreaking.”

“When one of our officers is killed in the line of duty it tears your heart out because of the demands that go with the police job, and the service they provide for all of us,” said Garcia.

Raetz's best friend from elementary school, Detective Jeff Clement, said he promised Raetz to look after Tatum for the rest of her life.

The fallen officer served in the Navy and did two tours in Iraq.

He loved being an officer and served six years with the department in the Maryvale precinct.

Following the funeral service, a procession took place through the streets of Phoenix.

Swarms of people lined the streets to honor Raetz and his dedication to keeping the city safe.

“We’re here to show our support and love, let the families know we’re here for them,” said Laura Contreras.

The procession ended at the Phoenix Memorial Park, where Raetz was buried.

But while Raetz’s days on patrol have come to an end, his commitment to the city of Phoenix will never be forgotten.

“It’s like we lost a part of our family too, because they're always there for us,” said Sandy Guerrero.

Raetz, 29, died last Sunday when he was struck by a vehicle while conducting a DUI stop.

The owner of the vehicle that hit Raetz has been arrested on a drug charge, but he has not been charged with a crime relating to Raetz’s death.