PHOENIX — Two Arizona law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year will be honored in Washington D.C. next week.
Family members of fallen Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Reatz and fallen Department of Public Safety Officer Timothy Huffman will attend ceremonies in the nation’s capital as part the National Police Memorial Week.
“It’s one of the saddest and proudest moments … for both families,” said Jan Blaser-Upchurch, president of Concerns of Police Survivors. Blaser-Upchurch will be traveling to Washington, D.C. ahead of the family members to make preparations for their arrivals.
One of the ceremonies the family members will take part in is a candlelight vigil that will be held on Tuesday, where all officers nationwide who died while on duty in 2013 will be remembered.
“It’s held on the U.S. Capitol Lawn, sometimes the president attends,” said Blaser-Upchurch. “They read every name, they start with the states in alphabetical order, and they read the names of the fallen officers and then the family goes up and puts a flower on a wreath … It is a beautiful, beautiful ceremony.”
On Thursday, Blaser-Upchurch said families will attend the National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day, where Raetz and Huffman’s names will be immortalized along with more than 17,000 others upon the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Wall.
“Their names are now going to be officially recognized they’re on this beautiful monument for all time,” said Blaser-Upchurch. “Just going to the monument, the flowers, the poster boards, all the mementos that are left at the monument during National Police Week is just the most incredible thing you ever can see.”
Reatz, a six-year veteran of Phoenix police, was killed while wrapping up a DUI stop on May 19, 2013, when he was struck by another vehicle traveling northbound on 51st Avenue near Cambridge Avenue.
Huffman, a 14-year veteran of DPS, was killed on May 6, 2013 while writing a report in his patrol car at the scene of an injury wreck on Interstate 8 about 40 miles east of Yuma, Ariz. An empty tanker truck did not yield to the lane closure and struck a patrol car that then slammed into Huffman’s car.
In total 257 law enforcement officers in Arizona have been killed in the line of duty.