Thousands gather for Phoenix officer David Glasser’s memorial service

Members of the Phoenix Police Department escort the casket of fallen officer David Glasser. (Photo by Christina Tetreault/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX — David Glasser was passionate, professional, and always hard working. “A great street cop.”

That most powerful police compliment was one of many for the fallen Phoenix police officer during his memorial service and funeral Thursday.

More than 4,000 people filed into Christ’s Church of the Valley to pay their respects. Fellow officers and loved ones commemorated the life and accomplishments of the 12-year veteran, who was slain in the line of duty a week ago.

“He amassed nearly 40 written commendations for outstanding police work,” said Phoenix Chief of Police Joseph Yahner. “He embodied what a Phoenix police officer is. He was professional. He was motivated. He was committed and he was very good at his job.”

Glasser was shot May 18 when he responded to a burglary report in Laveen. He died the following day. He is survived by his wife Kristen and two children – a son and a daughter.

Fellow officer James Byrd, like many speaking at the service, turned his attention to Glasser’s family.

Members of the Glasser memorial are escorted by the Phoenix Police force. (Photo by Christina Tetreault/Cronkite News)

Members of the Glasser memorial are escorted by the Phoenix Police force. (Photo by Christina Tetreault/Cronkite News)

“To my brother, I’m sorry I couldn’t get there in time. Sorry I wasn’t there. As soon as I knew that I could do no good at the scene, my very next thought was of your family,” he said.

“I didn’t want Kristen to not have a familiar face to be with her. I will never forget the things that you have taught me,” he pledged to his fallen friend. “I will never forget your family. They will always be a part of the family you see before you today.”

Kristen released a letter of thanks Thursday morning before the service, saying, “My kids and I lost our most favorite person. David was an incredible husband and father, and the pain we are feeling is indescribable. However, the love and support we’ve received eases a little of that pain – so thank you.”

Following the memorial service, the streets of West Phoenix held hundreds of solemn and peaceful people showing their support with decorative flags, colorful signs, and tears in their eyes as the procession traveled to Phoenix Memorial Park and Cemetery.

“We all bleed blue. Every time someone dies it’s hard,” said Josie Stewart, the wife of a Phoenix police officer. Wearing black and blue t-shirts and holding American flags, Stewart and her daughter Lauren were there to support the officers and family. “Every time I hug him I never know if he’s going to come back at night and they’re human. They [police officers] have feelings, too.”

The Stewarts have felt their own loss.

“We actually lost my nephew in the line of duty last year, so it’s very hard,” Josie said. “It’s bringing back a lot of emotions and we all need to step up and support our officers that are there for us, to help us.”

Yahner said Glasser is the 38th Phoenix officer to die in the line of duty.