Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Funeral of Officer Lee Newbill

Officer Lee Newbill

I have the somber privilege to attend Officer Lee Newbill's funeral today. Starting out around 0800 hrs this morning

I made my way to the staging for the procession which was at the old Tidyman's in Moscow's East side. I arrived with the parking lot about half full of police cars from all over Idaho, Washington, and beyond. Police Officers who did not know Officer Lee Newbill and those who did were gathering for this event. Fire engines and other fire rigs from Pullman, Colfax, Lewiston, Moscow, Whitman County Fire District 12 and others were also there to pay tribute to this man.

Police Cars fill the Tidyman's parking lot

Patrol cars from Latah County and Moscow fill nearby parking lot

A couple of the fire department rigs lined up on the street

A close up of the officers waiting from the procession to start

At about 10:00 AM the procession started. It was long enough that as my vehicle was pulling into the parking of the Kibbie Dome the last cars were leaving Tidyman's. Along the route people were standing on the sides of the streets and police officers on Motorcycles where blocking intersections. There were people who had their hand over their heart, American Flags, signs of support, and cub scout troops along the way.

We arrived at the Kibbie dome where a Lewiston Ladder truck and Moscow Ladder truck had their ladders crossed with a huge American Flag blowing in the breeze. We walked into the Kibbie Dome and made our way to the seating on the floor. There were about 800 chairs on the floor. Over the next two hours officers from the various agencies mingled with one another.

Officer Walk to Kibbie Dome with American Flag in the Background

Then Glenn Johnson asked everyone to the seats as the funeral was about to get started. By this time many people from the public had made their way into the Kibbie Dome, nearly all the available seats were taken with both police officers, EMS workers, and the public.

Moscow Police Chief Weaver talked about Newbill and his qualities. He got a couple laughs when telling a story about Officer Newbill and Moscow's purchase of a Segway Scooter.

It was Officer Newbills who was testing it out riding it around the UI campus and to the police station. An event was held to show off the scooter to the public and the media. Part of the rules were that the officer riding the scooter had to have a helmet on. While Newbill was riding the scooter he crashed it, only as Officer Newbill could. Later as the public were making comments, one elderly lady said "It is nice to see the police are hiring the handicap".

The children of Officer Newbill got up to speak. His two daughters went first, both telling some stories about their dad. Some more laughter was heard from the crowd. Then Officer Newbill's son, who is in the military like his father was, and plans to be a police officer, spoke. He quoted a poem from the Officer Down Memorial Page. Following the poem he was getting choked up and could hardly talk. He was in his Air Force uniform. He turned to his father shrine on the stage and saluted. That caused a lot of emotion from the crowd. I could see people starting to wipe tears. I could hear people sniffling. It was touching.

The flag was presented to the family and a 21-gun salute was given. That is when Whitcom (the dispatch center) got on the air. So soon as people hear the sound of the mic keying up, I saw heads quickly drop. We all knew was coming.

"149 - Moscow"
(the police emergency tones go out)
A couple words are spoken in honor of Officer Newbill then it was said:
"149 out of service".

Following the funeral a large number of bikers were outside near the ladder trucks each one holding an American Flag.

Bikers Line up with American Flags


Tom Forbes said...

Thanks for the report Scotty.

Any event like this in small community has many repercussions, like ripples in a pond after a stone is thrown in.

In our case, our 14 year old and 12 year old both had Becky Newbill as their preschool teacher at the WSU Children's Center. The center closed early today so that the teachers could attend the service.

Our sincerest thoughts, prayers and sympathies are with the Newbill family and the other victim's families.

Mick G said...

Well done.

We are all diminished.