Earlier last year, Tatum Raetz graduated from kindergarten, just three days after his father passed away on duty. And since his father couldn’t be there, Phoenix police officers came together to attend her graduation ceremony. They lined at the sidewalk clapping for her as she walks inside the auditorium with her mother.
“Usually we come together as a police family in sad times, so for something like this to happen on such a happy occasion … this is wonderful,” Garza continued. “It’s uplifting. … We honor his memory, but we’re there and we celebrate and we’re with his family. That’s the most important thing we can do. We’ll support his family forever, and this is just the first step. I wish he were here to see [Tatum graduate], but I hope we do him proud.” said Sara Garza, a member of the Phoenix Police Department Drug Enforcement Bureau and a friend of the Raetz family.
Tatum’s Father, Daryl Raetz, 29, was killed by a hit-and-run while investigating a drunk driving case. He was an Iraq war veteran and had been working with Phoenix police department since 2007.
After knowing about Tatum’s graduation ceremony, Daryl squad and his precinct planned to attend for his stead. The news spread within the whole department encouraging handful of officers willing to support Tatum in her very special day.
“It turned into the entire department going, ‘No way, I’m going, you can’t stop me’ kind of thing,” Officer James Holmes said.
After the ceremony, police officers handed toy badges and let some children sit inside their patrol cars.