SCRANTON -- It has been 82 years since a Scranton Police officer was killed responding to a call. Patrolman John Wilding died Sunday after being injured during a foot chase.
On Friday, Wilding's family, his police family, and citizens of the city he served said goodbye.
This has been a very difficult and emotional week for the men and women of the Scranton Police Department as they laid one of their newest officers to rest.
But Patrolman John Wilding was also a rising star in the department. At his funeral, we heard a lot about his career, his character, and the impression he leaves behind.
The bagpipes echoed on Wyoming Avenue as Patrolman John Wilding's casket was carried into St. Peter's Cathedral.
His wife Kristen followed with 7-year-old Lola and 3-year-old Sidney in tow.
The 29-year-old patrolman was laid to rest after dying from injuries he received in the line of duty last weekend.
"On that tragic night, he demonstrated his dedication to the people of Scranton," said Mayor Bill Courtright. "He demonstrated his willingness to run towards danger. He put his life on the line to protect his city, our city."
Scranton's police department sat in the pews as a group, the worry from the last week on their faces.
"We have lost one of our beloved brothers and we will grieve. But in time, this will make us a stronger family," said Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano, who called Wilding the epitome of what a police officer should be.
The corporal who trained Wilding made his family smile when he told about how the rookie cop never wanted a day off.
"The one problem we have there is, John turns to me and says, 'Corporal.' I said, 'Call me Tom. We're at an 80s party.' He goes, 'OK Corporal, I have a problem. I don't know how to call off,'" said Cpl. Tom McDonald with a sad smile.
Cpl. McDonald's main message to his fellow officers was to emulate what Patrolman Wilding stood for.
As the weeks go on though, this department will be changed from this reminder of the dangers of the job.
"Every day you live with that as a police wife," said Donna Graziano, the wife of the police chief. "Or if you have a son or a daughter or anyone who puts the uniform on, you never forget that, never. It just makes it hit home a little bit more. And you feel blessed when they come home."
When the service was over, the flag was folded and handed to Wilding's family. They rode off with dozens of patrol cars behind them, police who now have a new perspective.
"Mrs. Wilding, it's me that wants to be the type of cop that John was."
Hundreds of police officers from departments in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania stood in a line three deep to pay their respects to Officer Wilding.