2 Jacksonville detectives to attend NYPD funeral
JetBlue flying officers to New York City for free to attend slain cop's service
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Officers from around the country are flying to New York City this weekend to pay their respects to a slain NYPD officer.
They're getting help from JetBlue, which is offering to fly two officers from every police department in the nation for free to attend the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos.
Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu (pictured below) were sitting in their patrol car when they were shot and killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a Georgia man with a long criminal record.
Two local detectives will be showing their support on behalf of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. They depart from Jacksonville International Airport at 6:45 p.m. and return tomorrow.
Eight police officers carried the flag-draped casket into a New York City church as other officers in blue lined the streets outside and saluted as they passed with Ramos' body.
Saturday, Ramos will be laid to rest in front of an expected crowd of 25,000 other officers.
"We have each others' back," JSO spokesman Officer Christian Hancock said. "We're always there for each other for professional reasons and for personal reasons. Any time an officer is killed anywhere in the nation, we show respect to that. We do like to show our presence and show that we honor that officer for doing the job that he does just like we do and that he gave his life for that job."
Detective David Melear and his best friend, an undercover detective, were keen on attending the funeral to show solidarity with the NYPD after this heinous act. Before they could book their flights, they found out they would be flying for free on JetBlue.
A spokeswoman said the airline is happy to help and released this statement:
"We're honored to do what we can to support the communities we serve, and our team has made flights available to law enforcement agencies across our route network who wish to send representatives to New York to support their brethren."
"I think it's outstanding that the officers did the legwork without knowing -- they were going to go on their own time," Hancock said. "They volunteered to pay for the flights. They volunteered to pay for their own rooms. Again, that shows the tenacity that we have when it comes to showing our support for other departments when there's a slain officer."
Four members of JSO's Honor Guard have also volunteered to drive down south this weekend to represent JSO and show support for the Tarpon Springs officer who was gunned down responding to a noise complaint.
His memorial is Saturday as well.
"I have to imagine it's going to be overwhelming for them anyway, very sad time for the family," Hancock said. "But the support that we can show them and they can see that, it's got to be empowering to them and overwhelming, I would imagine, to see the support that they're going to see throughout the nation."
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford released this statement Friday:
"I am honored that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will be participating in these memorial services this weekend as a tribute to these fallen officers. These tragic killings are indicative of the danger law enforcement officers all across this nation face every day. The families, colleagues, and friends of these fallen officers, along with the communities they served so honorably, remain in our prayers."
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