Thousands pay final respects to fallen IMPD Officer Rod Bradway
Almost a week after he was killed in the line of duty, the city is saying goodbye to a public servant today.
Early Thursday morning, Indianapolis Metro Police and the Honor Guard escorted Officer Rod Bradway's casket to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for his funeral, which got underway just after noon.
Governor Mike Pence, Mayor Greg Ballard, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and several other city leaders spoke at the funeral, which was attended by thousands of mourners.
"Today is a day of grief and sadness. It is also a day of gratitude and respect. This city, this state owe a debt of honor to Officer Rod Bradway and his family that we will never fully repay," Gov. Mike Pence. "He was one of us. And he was the best of us. And we rightly gather to honor him."
"Most people go their whole life wondering whether they made a difference. But police officers don't have that problem. Once the training is complete and the uniform is on, they have made that difference by standing up for a civil society, pleding to defend all of us against those who want to harm a civil society," said Mayor Ballard.
"Most everyone is amazed at the daily actions by our police forces that may not be high profile but still contribute greatly to the cause of justice. But many times, police encounter situations where training and instinct are broken down into split seconds. Officer Bradway encountered just such a situation and performed heroically, saving two lives as a result. But other lives have changed forever," he said. "On behalf of the grateful citizens of Indianapolis, we honor Officer Bradway and his family for the sacrifices they have made for all of us. No one in this city will ever wonder whether Officer Bradway made a difference. We all mourn his loss. No greater love."
Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, IMPD Chief of Police Rick Hite and Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson also spoke.
"He demonstrated by his actions his commitment to the constitution of the United States, his commitment to the great state of Indiana, and his commitment to serve and protect when he laid down his life for someone he didn't even know. He demonstrated by his action that your life, that my life, and all those within this city were more important than his own," said Riggs.
"Indianapolis lost one of its finest. A police officer. Indianapolis also lost a great citizen. He served his community both on and off duty. And he served with distinction," Riggs added. "To the family, I want to make a commitment to you today. On behalf of the 3,200 men and women of the department of public safety, that you are part of our family. We never forget family."
"I can also assure you on behalf of all of IMPD, the thin blue line of Indianapolis, that we will never forget his service. We will continue to fight the good fight in his honor. My prayer has been and always will be, that God will bless you and continue to give you the peace that only he can provide," Riggs said.
Chief Hite also praised Officer Bradway's sacrifice and remarked on the thousands of people who attended the ceremony Thursday.
"I saw our police department, still duty-bound but available to provide comfort and honor to our hero's family. I also saw a group of people who come from surrounding areas come in and help us in a time of grief and need. All honoring that thin blue line. Rod would be so proud. It was said by many that pride, honor, and commitment were a hallmark of his work, and indeed his calling," he said.
Chief Hite said Bradway's commitment saved two lives.
"On that fateful night, Rod heard a call for help and answered that call. He kicked in a door to safeguard a mother and a child in desperate need of rescue and refuge – purposefully placing himself in harm's way to save the lives of others. This magnificent act of bravery allows a mother to continue to nurture a child, to grow up in peace, and to be all that God has intended them to be," he said.
Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson recalled Rod Bradway's family and his early years.
"He saw the way his grandfather served faithfully his community. How his parent's involvement in our community meant so much for so many people. And he chose then to follow that path. In the months ahead, Rod's name will be etched on monuments in Indiana and Washington D.C., but his name, service, and who he was and what he stood for, will be etched in our minds and in our hearts forever," Mayor Thompson said.
"Officers here today, please remember, Rod's spirit rides with you every day as you protect us from this madness. May the very thought of Rod Bradway's spirit bring you home safely every day. May God bless each and everyone of you here today," he added.
Watch a live stream of funeral coverage here. You can also watch on the WTHR news app or on WTHR Channel 13.1.
Thursday's ceremony was the result of an enormous effort between the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, the FOP, volunteers from the community and several other organizations.
"It makes me feel proud and I'm honored to wear this uniform. It makes me proud not just of our department but our city and our country that we could come out to honor a fallen hero like this," said IMPD Officer Mike Hewitt.
Approximately 1,000 police officers from Indiana and around the country are expected to attend the funeral and graveside service at Crown Hill Cemetery this afternoon.
IMPD says any members of the public who plan to attend the burial must attend the funeral at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Parking near the fieldhouse will be tight.
The funeral is scheduled to end at approximately 3:00 p.m. and a procession will take Bradway through Wayne Township, to IMPD Northwest District Headquarters for his final sign out, and back to Crown Hill for his burial.
At Crown Hill this afternoon, he IMPD Honor Guard will transfer Bradway's casket from the hearse to a horse drawn caisson.
At the grave site, the chaplain will conduct the committal service.
Then the American flag will be folded and presented to Chief Rick Hite, who will then present the flag to Bradway's family.
That will be followed by the 21 gun salute, and taps.
Officers will file past the casket to place carnations on it before burial. Each white carnation will have a red dot, signifying Bradway's ultimate sacrifice.
NOTE: Street closures could last until the evening.
Depart Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Northbound on Pennsylvania
Westbound on Washington
Southbound on Holt
Westbound on Sam Jones Expressway
Pause at Wayne Township Firehouse #81
Northbound on High School Road
Eastbound on 10th
Northbound on Lynhurst
Eastbound on 25th
Northbound on Georgetown
Eastbound on 30th
Northbound on Guion
Southbound on Industrial Blvd.
Pause at Northwest District (Final 10-42)
Southbound on Industrial Blvd.
Eastbound on 38th St.
Southbound on Capitol Ave.
Westbound on 34th St. to Crown Hill entrance
S/B Pennsylvania at Washington St closed. One emergency lane will be coned off.
S/B Pennsylvania at Maryland St. Closed
S/B Delaware at Maryland St. Closed
Access will be provided to Bankers Life Loading ramp for employees needing access to the stadium from this location.
E/B Georgia St. at Meridian. Closed, Access point for designated parking on Pennsylvania.
As needed: N/B Delaware at South St. will be restricted when 4 lanes of Delaware are parked with police cars 1 emergency lane will remain open for access to City Way, the Alexander Hotel and the Virginia Street garage.
Civilians wanting to take place in the funeral procession should proceed to South and Pennsylvania. They will be directed to the parking lot at the south east corner (known as Colts Tailgate lot)and will be placed in the funeral procession.
Expect long delays on the streets and intersections associated with the funeral procession.
Live coverage continues throughout the morning on Eyewitness News Sunrise. Live coverage of the funeral begins at 11:00 a.m. on WTHR, as well as WTHR.com and our mobile app.