The public is invited to a fundraiser that will help send the squad of a fallen Phoenix officer to Police Week in Washington D.C.
The fundraiser is 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 7 at the Phoenix Police Department Air Support Unit, 102 E. Deer Valley Drive.
The Phoenix Police Foundation, with support from the community, will host the fundraiser to help raise funds for the squad of fallen Officer Paul Rutherford to travel to Police Week. Mr. Rutherford's name will be added to the Fallen Officer Memorial Wall.
The event is designed to be family-friendly with special appearances from the Phoenix Police Departments K9 Unit, Special Assignments Unit, Bomb Squad and Air Support Helicopter and Airplane. Over 35 vendors will be present, and officers will be cooking pulled pork barbecue, hot dogs, and hamburgers.
He was at the scene of an earlier accident when a call involving an armed subject was dispatched at a location across the street. Mr. Rutherford was attempting to cross the street to respond to the call when he was struck by a vehicle. He was transported to a hospital where he died from his injuries.
Mr. Rutherford was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Phoenix Police Department for 23 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
In 1962, President John Fr. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
Names are engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial that includes officers who were killed in the line of duty the previous year.
"This is an important event for the squad of Officer Rutherford to attend as part of the mourning process," Phoenix Police Foundation President Tim Thomas stated in a release. "We want the squad to focus on why they are there and not how they are going to pay for it."
According to Phoenix police, 39 of the agency's officers have been killed in the line of duty.