Hundreds attend visitation for fallen Phoenix police officerPosted: Updated:
The valley is preparing to say its final goodbyes to a fallen Phoenix police officer.
Visitation was held Friday night for Officer Daryl Raetz - with a steady stream of his family, friends and colleagues - ahead of Saturday's funeral.
"If I could get a squad full of Daryls, if I could get a precinct full of Daryls – that's exactly what I'd want, because I know what I'm going to get," said Phoenix Police Commander Mike Kurtenbach. "I'm going to get an incredibly hard worker that is very passionate about his job and cares about making a difference."
Kurtenbach was one of hundreds of people who attended the visitation for Raetz , a six-year veteran of the force.
Members of other law enforcement agencies also came to show their support.
"It's a brotherhood out here," said Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer William Rainey. "One of our own falls – we come out and support them. We support the other agencies as well."
The 29-year-old Raetz was killed in the line of duty last Sunday by a hit and run driver – as he worked the scene of a DUI stop in Maryvale.
"We had an opportunity, before the visitation started, to meet as a precinct and meet with Daryl's squad," said Kurtenbach. "And you can see it on their faces, it really is starting to hit home."
Just one of the examples of how life has changed forever laid before them in front of Mountain View Mortuary: three all-terrain vehicles belonging to Raetz, his wife and 5-year-old daughter.
Kurtenbach said riding the California sand dunes was a favorite Raetz family pastime – and is now a cherished memory.
"Right now, the officers on that squad - they want to be there for Stephanie (Raetz's wife)," he said. "They want to there for Tatum (Raetz's daughter). That's what's helping them. But that's also what I worry about after tomorrow (day of the funeral) – because they've been so committed to helping the family. I just worry how it impacts them."
Kurtenbach said members of Raetz's squad, many of whom were there the morning he died, are being given time to grieve – with other officers covering their shifts.
Raetz's memorial service beings at 9 a.m. Saturday at Christ's Church of the Valley in Peoria.
A funeral procession will immediately follow.
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