Two members of the Palm Springs Police Department made the flight to New York City to attend the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos who was gunned down with his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, earlier this month.
“The situation is you are surrounded by your brothers and sisters in blue everybody is there as a unite purpose to show support for the family and to the department,” says Detective Lembit Kulbin with the Palm Springs Police Department. He and another officer made the trip to the funeral.
“This is a really unique situation in which officers Liu and Ramos they were assassinated in there car. Although an officer dies about every two an half days in the line of duty, it’s usually not to that type of extreme and we as a department and personally we wanted to go and show our support for the law enforcement family,” says Kulbin.
Detective Kulbin had been to funerals for fallen officers before, but he says this one is different because of Ramos’ relationship with his church.
“Ramos had a very close connection, as he was just recently ordained as a minister at his church. That church only sat about 700 people so the family wanted the services held at that church which forced about 24,000 citizens and uniformed officers from New York, New Jersey, and across the country to funnel out into the streets,” says Kulbin.
Detective Kulbin wouldn’t comment on any political questions, but he did say it is now more dangerous to be wearing a badge.
“The danger that comes with the job, I think it’s increasing, the statistics change from year to year as far as what’s actually happening, how many officers are passing away in the line of duty. And it varies, but it certainly seems like the atmosphere is more tense right now,” says Kulbin.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Police Commissioner, and union heads held a private meeting on Tuesday. The focus of the meeting was to begin a dialogue on how to improve relations between the two sides.
After the meeting the union leader said that “only time will tell” if relations with the mayor can be improved.