300 Police Officers Stand in for Fallen Officer at Daughter’s Graduation

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Daryl Raetz a 29-year-old Iraq war veteran has been a member of the Phoenix police department since June 2007. Officer Raetz died while responding to a DUI investigation on the morning of May 21, 2013. When his fellow police officers heard that her 5-year-old daughter, Tatum, was about to graduate from kindergarten three days later, they did something unforgettable.

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Fallen Officer Daryl Raetz with his daughter, Tatum and wife, Stephanie.

The Phoenix police department called Stephanie, Daryl’s widow, and the school to inform them of their plan. The plan spread throughout the department and from handful of officers planning to attend the graduation, it soon became the whole department.

Phoenix police officers line up for their fallen comrade’s daughter’s graduation.

So, on the day of Tatum’s graduation, a sea of blue police uniforms lined up to wait for Tatum. When Tatum and her mother stepped out of their car, the officers started clapping and calling out her name. They also gave Tatum a bouquet of flowers. Everyone could see happiness in Tatum’s face and the officers also enjoyed the bittersweet moment. All they wanted was to remind Tatum and her mother how important they are. The officers certainly achieved their purpose to be the proxy for Daryl and to let Tatum know that they are there for her.

Tatum and her mother surrounded by the Phoenix police officers.

After the ceremony ended, the police stayed to hand out tow badges to the children and even let some of them sit inside their patrol car.

For awhile, Stephanie and Tatum was able to smile.

The graduation ceremony for Tatum's kindergarten class was standing room only.

Phoenix Police Department officer with 5-year-old Tatum, her mother, Stephanie Raetz, on the morning of the girl's graduation from kindergarten.

Even for awhile, the police department gave the grief-stricken widow and her daughter some reprieve.

Here’s the video of the whole event

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