Officers gather for funeral
A line of law enforcement officers wrapped around Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Monday morning as the community prepared to bury Fort Wayne patrolman David A. Tinsley.
Tinsley, 50, died from a heart attack last week, shortly after a police pursuit. He served the Fort Wayne Police Department for 16 years.
“Since that tragic night, we have received numerous calls, messages; calls saying we’re sorry for the loss of Officer Tinsley,” Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed said in a two-minute eulogy. “So it’s not only us who mourn here today but our entire community as well.”
With a portion of West Jefferson Boulevard closed to through traffic, the scene outside the downtown church was hushed as uniform-clad officers awaited entry on a sidewalk flanked by American flags.
Parked law enforcement vehicles occupied blocks of Jefferson and some side streets. Local squad cars were joined by those from numerous communities, including Beech Grove, Franklin, Hamilton County, Marion, Porter County, South Bend, Waterloo, Valparaiso and Goshen. The Indiana State Police, the Kentucky State Police and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol were among other agencies represented.
Fort Wayne police encouraged businesses along the funeral procession route to lower flags to half staff and to display a sentiment to Tinsley on marquees.
The pomp went against Tinsley’s unpretentious and humble spirit, said Thomas Eggold, the pastor who officiated the service.
“He never wanted to be in the spotlight,” Eggold said. “Dave would have been very uncomfortable with all of the attention that he has been given this week.”
Repeating a phrase he used at a news conference last week, Reed described Tinsley as “a cop’s cop.”
“That says something about a man,” Reed said. “A man who stood for something. A man that was looked up to. A man that did his job and did it well. I call on all my fellow officers to remember why we chose this profession, and on those days when we have doubts, think of Dave and how he served and what he stood for.”
Eggold further described Tinsley as an exemplary officer who would do anything for anybody.
“He gave of himself to those in need,” Eggold said, “and he sacrificed his own time and often his own sleep to cover a shift or lend a hand.”