Cpl. Edwards praised in eulogy by Taylor Chief of Police Tamsen

Following is the eulogy delivered by Taylor Chief of Police Dale Tamsen during the July 29, 2010, funeral of Cpl. Matthew Edwards, a decorated police officer who was killed in the line of duty the morning of July 23. The funeral took place at Beacon Baptist Church in Taylor.

Honor. . .Integrity. . .Service

Those are more than just words to us. It is how we do what we do: with honor and integrity, while serving the community. Those words are on every Taylor police car. They aren't just a motto. Those words describe how Corporal Matthew Edwards conducted himself every day. With honor and integrity.

Law enforcement officers face the unknown each time we respond to a call. We run toward danger, we battle the bad guys, and help the helpless. Matt also did that every day. There is no way to know the number of lives he touched every time he came to work.

It is law enforcement’s job to fix problems and to seek justice. That is what we do. But we cannot fix this, and that hurts. The reality is that we cannot make sense of this tragic loss of such an outstanding young man.

I know it is not only our department that is suffering. The attendance here today is a testament to not only to the brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement, but to the contribution that Matt made to the lives of his family, friends, colleagues and the City of Taylor.

It was in 2004 that Matt graduated from the Detroit Police Academy and worked for the Detroit Police Department until 2005, when he was sworn in at the Taylor P.D. Just two years later, in 2007, Matt and his partner, Cpl. Jeff Graves, responded to a domestic violence call. Matt was forced to shoot the man involved, and that quick response saved the lives of Cpl. Graves and the man’s wife.

As a result of his bravery, Matt received several awards and was named Officer of the Year by the Police Officers Association of Michigan.

Matt always practiced good officer safety. He made prudent decisions. Tactically, he was a sound officer and fellow officers knew him as an outstanding patrolman who showed superior judgment and skill in his 5½ years on the force. Just earlier this year, he was promoted to the rank of corporal.
 
But last Friday morning, despite the best efforts of his fellow officers, rescue personnel and Oakwood Hospital staff, God called Matt home. We honor Matt as a hero today. Hero is also more than a word to us. It is a tribute given to those few who despite fear and despite personal danger, act with courage and coolness and generosity at the toughest of times -- and sometimes at the very cost of their lives.

Matt did this, too, and if Matt were here right now, I think he would tell us to honor the deeds of his partner that tragic day, Cpl. Gregory Piche. His courage that morning will always be remembered. He, too, is a hero.

This tragedy has affected us all. The grief that we in law enforcement feel at this loss is crushing, but it does not compare to what Matt’s family is going through. So to Matt’s family, his wife, Shannon, and his children, Luke and Moriah, I give you the profound sympathy of the Taylor Police Department for the sacrifice that you must endure and pledge our unending support and commitment. It is not enough, but it is all we have, and we offer it with full and grateful hearts.

The strength you have shown is inspiring, and for that, too, we thank you. You have held yourselves with grace and dignity during the most difficult time in your life and that makes us very proud -– and honored –- to call you members of the Taylor police family.

I must also thank the community of Taylor and police departments from across the country for the outpouring of support that has been shown to our officers at this time. I pray you never have to feel what we feel today.

In the weeks ahead, the Taylor Police Department will honor Cpl. Edwards at a memorial in front of our Police Station. He is the first officer lost to us in the line of duty.

Today we say goodbye to Corporal Matthew Edwards, but this is not the last day we will think of his service and sacrifice.

Nor will it be the last time we think of his keen sense of humor, his glowing smile and his love of his family who he always talked about.

Honor. . .Integrity. . .Service. Never before have these words meant as much as they do today.

Matt, our brother, we love you. You will be missed.

Taylor police officers, retired officers and auxiliary police officers stand at attention outside Beacon Baptist Church.

Hundreds of police cars from Michigan and other states were part of the funeral procession.

Taylor firefighters salute as Cpl. Matthew Edwards' former police car leads the funeral procession down Goddard Road.

The hearse carrying the body of Taylor police Cpl. Matthew Edwards passes under an American flag at
the intersection of Goddard Road and Pine Street at the Taylor municipal complex.

Friends of Cpl. Matthew Edwards gather on the grounds of the Taylor municipal complex.

Cpl Matthew Edwards

More photos coming soon.

Taylor, Michigan