Bealefeld, Fellow Officers Remember Fallen City Officer

… Portz eulogized by police commissioner, close friends …

By Yeganeh June Torbati, The Baltimore Sun

2:41 PM EDT, October 27, 2010

Hundreds of police officers, family and friends of Baltimore City police officer Thomas R. Portz, Jr. gathered Wednesday to remember the fallen officer’s gregarious nature, fierce devotion to those close to him and even his athletic prowess in a somber church ceremony.

Portz became the third city police officer killed in the last month and the first killed in the line of duty since 2007 when his vehicle crashed into the back of a fire truck last week.

Governor Martin O’Malley, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and city state’s attorney Patricia Jessamy attended the services. Frederick H. Bealefeld, the Baltimore police commissioner and a close friend of Portz’s, eulogized the thirty-two-year-old husband and father, as did two of his fellow policemen.

“He loved being an officer, and he was a damn good one,” Bealefeld said.

Bealefeld said the ten-year police veteran had been recognized as an officer of the month and honored for helping to save the residents of a burning building.

The commissioner’s voice broke and he grew emotional as he described his friendship with the 32 year-old Portz, which included practical jokes and games of ice hockey.

After the closing hymn of “Onward Christian Soldiers,” the congregation let out onto the church grounds. Portz’s family followed his coffin, draped in an American flag and carried by officers, out of the church. Outside, bagpipers played “America the Beautiful” and Portz’s coffin was loaded into a hearse to be taken to Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.

As the music ended, a light drizzle descended and the police procession that would take Portz to his final resting place began.

Copyright © 2010, The Baltimore Sun

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