Thousands show up to support fallen officer

Posted at 5:02 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 13:58:23-04

Lines wrapped around the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association building on 11th Avenue and Adams Street to help honor an officer who was killed in the line of duty.

Grills were set up on the sidewalk along with tents selling everything from hotdogs and hamburgers, to T-shirts, coffees and pastries. Almost everything was available for a donation. 

Police officers, firefighters, highway patrol officers, and deputies from agencies throughout Arizona showed up to support their brothers and sisters in blue. From Glendale, to Chandler, Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Prescott, some officers said the show of support was overwhelming.

Phoenix firefighters helped cook up the food, as police officers ran the donation tables. In the basement of the PLEA building, along with the dozens of tables set up for supporters, a single table was set up for fallen officer David Glasser. Police called it an honor table, reserved for their brother.

In a day and age when the dangers of policing are ever present, the president of PLEA said it was heartwarming to know they were loved.

"We all know when we stepped into this job we knew it was dangerous, it goes with the territory, but when you see what's happened in the last year to two years in policing, and when you see these stats showing the increase in attacks it brings home very much the seriousness of the job we do, it's sobering," said Ken Crane.

He was referring to recent statistics released by the National Police Memorial Foundation showing a 40% increase in the number of fallen police officers in the last year.

"Unfortunately these little black bands, these badge shrouds are something most officers carry, a lot of them on their uniform somewhere, whether it be attached to their pepper spray case or something like that because we never know when we're going to have to use it," he said. 

The shrouds typically stayed on until an officer was laid to rest. Every officer had one on their badge. They were even handing out stickers showing a police badge with a shroud to the general public.

Among the crowds at the barbecue were those who knew Glasser. Some of his squad-mates were helping grill up burgers, one of them is Richard Vasquez, who was Glasser's partner for three years. Both of them served in the Neighborhood Enforcement team together.

In a department with 2,700 police officers, squad mates were as close family.

"I got to know Dave as a person, not just Dave the police officer, I got to know him as a family man, a sports fan," said Vazquez.

He described Glasser as a fiercely loyal partner who always had your back.

"I never had to question if I had to gov over a wall, was Dave going to go over the wall with me," he said "Or if I'm going through that door, is Dave going through that door with me, Dave was right there, with all of us."

Also at the barbecue, the man who recruited him for the job, now selling T-shirts to help raise money for Glasser's family.

Sgt. Rich Stringer with the Glendale Police Department worked at the academy when he noticed Glasser's passion for policing.

"He was just a young man who wanted to become a police officer, we were there trying to help him become one," said Stringer.

What stood out to Stringer was Glasser's big smile.

"He was a good kid, happy all the time," he said. "He enjoyed life and he's going to be sorely missed."

The T-shirts were selling out fast. Stringer said they raised about $43,000 at a car wash fundraiser held over the weekend, and about $20,000 more just through T-shirt sales.

The barbecue continues until 11 p.m. If you are unable to make it and would like to help, you can make your donations here.