City's farewell to Sgt. Simpson

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image wpvi"><span>WPVI</span></div><span class="caption-text">Funeral services for Sgt. Timothy Simpson</span></div>
November 24, 2008 9:16:44 PM PST
Once again police officers, city officials, and a grieving family gathered at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia for a mass of Christian burial.Sergeant Timothy Simpson was killed November 17th when his car was broadsided by an alleged intoxicated driver.

William Foster has been charged with 3rd degree murder and other crimes.

Monday, for the fifth time in 13 months, Philadelphia said goodbye to a cop, killed in the line of duty.

Mayor Michael Nutter spoke of the important contributions Simpson made to the police force and the city. Then, he turned to Simpson's wife and four children.

"God bless you. Thank you for lending him to us, for just a little while," Mayor Nutter said.

CLICK HERE for Cathy Gandolfo's report about the funeral service.

Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who in his short tenure in Philadelphia has spoken at four funerals of police officers, revealed that Simpson came from a long line of lawmen. Since the late 1800's, there has been a member of the Simpson family looking over the city.

"It's been hard. In my 25 years of service, I've never been through anything like this and I hope I never have to go to one of these again," said Inspector Cynthia Dorsey of the Philadelphia Police Department.

"It's rough, it's somebody you work with," said Cpl. Eugene Weisenberger of the Philadelphia Police Department. "I was just thinking I'm a little tired of coming to this park."

But came they did, officers from near and far, some with a hole in their hearts for Sgt. Simpson, a man they knew and respected, and for his grieving family.

"His family in the police department and his regular family needs to know that we do care, and the public needs to show that we do care about them," said Ofc. Tom Henry of the Lower Gwynedd Police Department.

Simpson's family followed his casket outside the cathedral for the painful journey to the resurrection cemetery in Bensalem.

Under gray skies, a Philadelphia family said goodbye to a husband and father who died while just trying to do his job.

The police department, unfortunately, has the burial ceremony down to a fine science now. They've had too much experience, squeezed into a short period of time, not to know this grim drill by heart.

CLICK HERE for Vernon Odom's report about the burial service.

With the winds so strong on Monday you could barely hear the bagpipes wailing, some Jersey Shore officers brought a rookie here to feel the vibes.

"We just wanted him to see all of this, because unfortunately we've been to a couple of these already," said Lt. Eugene Sharpe of the Ocean City, New Jersey police.

The city of Lancaster's police chief Keith Sadler came home to Philadelphia, because he knew Tim Simpson well from their days on the SWAT unit.

"You can't find dedicated employees like that. He was a top cop, he was an excellent Sergeant. A guy like that you'd like to see keep climbing through the ranks," said Chief Sadler.

In Port Richmond, where Sgt. Simpson died, a makeshift shrine to his memory has grown steadily since the crash that claimed his life. Emotions remain strong there even as the holiday season rolls in, Christmas trees for sale just across the street.

"This is a man we didn't even know, and the community's together showing their love and support for the officers," said Diana Kelly from Port Richmond.

Sgt. Simpson was a 20 year veteran of the Philadelphia police department.

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