Some had personal connections to the Boulder Police Department, others just wanted to show their support. But they gathered together into a large crowd Tuesday morning to watch the procession for Boulder Police Department Officer Eric Talley, who was killed in the Boulder shooting on March 22.
Talley was one of the 10 people killed in a shooting at a Boulder King Soopers last week. Talley died charging into the line of fire to save people who were simply trying to go grocery shopping, the Boulder County district attorney said the day after the shooting.
Shay Talley, Eric's father, called his son a brave man of integrity and faith who always did the right thing.
Tuesday's procession departed Thornton at 9:50 a.m. and traveled north on Interstate 25 from 104th before exiting west on Highway 7. It then turned south on N. 119th Street and west on E. South Boulder Road to arrive at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette. More than 500 law enforcement vehicles from across the country participated in the procession, according to Boulder police.
A memorial service for Boulder Police Department Officer Eric Talley followed the procession, starting around 11 a.m.
The Boulder Police Department, as well as the CU Boulder Police Department, added the names of the 10 victims to their patrol vehicles for the procession.
Paul Carey was one of the many people who came out to watch the procession. His wife is a Boulder police officer. While he said he never met Talley, he spoke with him on the phone before.
"I watched my wife for the last week and the other cops I know from Boulder and they’re all heartbroken," Carey said. "Officer Talley was a great guy, a great dad. He didn’t become a cop until he was 40. Because he wanted to help people.”
He said it's been difficult for his wife, who announced her retirement about a week before the shooting, to go to the police department.
“I’m sure in her mind she wasn’t going to see another coworker die, until this happened," Carey said.
He said it was encouraging to see police agencies from all over the state and neighboring states come to Talley's procession Tuesday.
“Policing is a fraternity. They all have each others' back," he said. "They take care of their own. Even though they didn’t know Officer Talley, they’re here to support his family and the Boulder Police Department and that’s awesome.”
He said it's important to remember that "99.9%" of cops are good, loving people, and many have families.
"They’re trying to do the best job they can," he added. "And we really need to support them more than we do, better than we do.”
Honor Guard lines the church awaiting Officer Talley’s arrival pic.twitter.com/haYcOxJHaJ— Boulder Police Dept. (@boulderpolice) March 30, 2021
Bill Rech of Thornton was also along the road to watch the procession. His son and daughter are both Boulder police officers and knew Talley.
He said it was scary hearing about what happened March 22 and knowing that his son was working that day. But he was also impressed by the turnout Tuesday.
“I knew this would be awesome and it is," he said looking among the others around him and the procession. "It really is.”
Michael Trus said he came out to the procession Tuesday out of respect for Talley. He said he's thankful Talley kept the community safe as long as he did.
“He did a great thing," Trus said. "The police force doesn’t get enough support. And this is the very least we can do to support him.”
Several law enforcement agencies around the state tweeted Tuesday morning to show support for the Boulder Police Department and Talley's family.
We can’t put words to the loss that we feel for #OfficerTalley and everyone who has been blessed by this man’s light and love. We stand beside you, your family, and our community today and all of our tomorrows. #BoulderStrong @boulderpolice pic.twitter.com/eiiKOgiN39— South Metro Fire Rescue (@SouthMetroPIO) March 30, 2021
Our hearts are with the family of Officer Eric Talley, our brothers and sisters in blue and the entire Boulder community. Our officers are helping with traffic control and security today to make sure the procession has a clear and safe path. #BoulderStrong pic.twitter.com/VqefbYNCxm— Brighton PD (@BrightonPolice) March 30, 2021
The Boulder Police Department and district attorney updated the public on the case on March 26, explaining that they're still in the beginning of the investigation and are seeking a motive.