NYPD Commissioner Wlliam J. Bratton gave this eulogy Friday at the funeral of Officer Brian Moore who was shot last weekend and died earlier this week. Moore was promoted to detective during the ceremony.
Once more we find ourselves together in mourning.
It is too soon since the last time... too soon.
The Moore family is an NYPD family... and I know they felt the double blow in December, as everyone did.
This is too soon.
But then, it’s always too soon.
I was still a recruit in the Boston Police Academy when I attended my first police funeral.
It was September 28, 1970.
I remember it still.
Five days earlier, Patrolman Walter Schroeder had been ambushed and killed by anti-Vietnam War activists.
Just three years later, his brother, Detective John Schroeder, was shot and killed by three men robbing a pawn shop.
The Schroeders were a police family, too.
I’ve been to too many funerals since.
I remember them all.
All cops do.
And each fills us with a deep sadness, to have lost a cop too soon.
We are left to take solace in each other, in our family in blue, and in remembrance of the one we’ve lost.
It’s not many of us who can say we lived out a dream.
But Brian could.
He dreamed of being a cop.
He dreamed of following his dad, whom he loved so much.
He dreamed of following his dad’s brother, and his aunt’s husband, and his cousins...
Cops from this fine family—and a host of others who grew up in these neighborhoods around us—they patrol Nassau, and Suffolk, and Queens, and the whole city.
That’s not a new phenomenon here.
Less than two months ago I was in this very church to celebrate a funeral mass for another cop, who retired long ago; whose eldest son is a deputy commissioner; whose second-youngest son, a cop named Eddie Byrne, also celebrated his funeral mass in this church, after being assassinated in the One-Oh-Three—a precinct where Brian once served, too.
With so many cops around, no one can say Brian didn’t know what the Job could mean, what it could take.
But he was living his dream.
One of his friends said, “He never showed up at work with the ‘why do I have to be here?’ puss.”
No, it was always a smile.
The only picture I’ve seen of Brian where he WASN’T smiling was his official Department photo.
But behind the infectious smile, behind the jokester, behind the love of cars and the Orioles, there was a cop’s cop.
When Brian went from Impact in the One-Oh-Three to patrol in the One-Oh-Five, his cousins told the guys at the precinct to look out for him.
But word got back, “we don’t have to look out for him — he’s a cop, through and through.”
He had an eye for the street—he could smell a gun, as they say.
Not even five years on, but he was already in anti-crime, already decorated.
As his cousin John said, “If he shook your hand and said he was going to do something, it got done.”
We need more like him.
Because Brian’s death comes at a time of great challenge for police officers across the country.
We bear the brunt of increasingly loud criticism—and increasing vitriol.
What is lost in the shouting is context.
A handful of incidents—fewer than a dozen—have wrongfully come to represent the hundreds of MILLIONS of interactions cops across the country have every year, when they help and protect, when they offer security and succor.
What is lost is officers like Brian Moore, and the people he served.
For the last five days, those people have come to the One-Oh-Five with food and flowers and hand-written cards.
What is lost is the vastness of the ways we already work together, the ways we get it right.
The policing of any community, of any city, is not solely incumbent on the police.
What is lost is that public safety is a shared responsibility.
In our democracy, it’s government’s first obligation.
But it’s not entirely the government’s burden.
We all have a fundamental right to live free from fear, free from crime, and free from disorder—but while we share that right, we also share the duty to secure it.
We share the responsibility of adherence to the law.
We share the responsibility of keeping each other safe.
It was Brian’s dream to do his part.
MY dream is a city where every officer and every citizen does the same.
Despite all the shouting, we’re closer to that than people think.
Because constant throughout the years is this truth, which most citizens know: the vast majority of cops go out into the streets to be YOUR POLICE.
Brian came to this Job through his family, which exemplifies the notion of bleeding blue.
All cops bleed blue.
We say that, hoping it never comes true — but the fact that we know it COULD come true, and go into the street anyway — that makes all the difference.
We all come to this Job in our own ways — the Moore family, those of you here in the church, the thousands outside.
Brian grew up with uniforms and stories of the Job, from the time he was a little boy. I envy him that.
For me, the profession worked its way into my heart as a young boy — not through family, but through a book.
A children’s book, with a simple message, but no less true for that.
“We must always remember that whenever you see a policeman, he is your friend. He is there to protect you. He has dedicated his life to the preservation of the laws, the property, and the civil rights of the people in the community he serves. He would not hesitate to save your life at the cost of his own.”
It was as true in 1956 as it is today.
Brian did not hesitate.
The 35,000 men and women of the NYPD do not hesitate.
I’m reminded of the words of a former Police Commissioner and a President of the United States.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,” Theodore Roosevelt said, “who strives to do great deeds; who spends himself in a worthy cause; whose place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Brian was the man in the arena... for all of us.
And so, with great honor—and great sadness—I posthumously promote Police Officer Brian Moore, shield 469, to Detective First Grade.
His family will receive this, Shield 9002.
That number follows shields 9000 and 9001, bestowed upon Detective Rafael Ramos and Detective WenJian Liu.
I hope the 9000 series never sees another—but that is an idle hope.
We are the police.
Detective Brian Moore knew it, and so do we all.
It is why this Job is special.
For the Bible tells us, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
No greater love.
Brian, you were loved in life, as you loved your friends, as you loved your fellow New Yorkers—and as you will be loved for all time in death.
So let us say farewell to Detective Brian Moore.
A hero of the city, and a guardian at the gate.
God bless him.
God bless his family.
And God bless the NYPD.