With tradition and honor, Tempe police laid to rest one of their own Thursday, one week after the motorcycle officer died in a crash on Loop 101.
Officers from across Arizona came to mourn officer Kevin Weeks. Wearing pressed dark blue and brown uniforms with black cloth stretched over their badges, hundreds of officers filed into the pews at Grace Community Church in Tempe.
Weeks was a decorated DUI enforcement officer with awards and commendations from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Tempe Police Department during his seven years on the force.
But he was also a young man who loved hard rock, sports and joking around with his friends.
Photographs that flashed on overhead screens showed him as a young boy on family vacations, as a teen posing in his football uniform, as an adult at his graduation from Arizona State University and later wearing his Tempe police uniform.
Tempe Sgt. John Butler described Weeks as intelligent, witty, outspoken and competitive.
“If he talked to you, he liked you,” Butler said.
“If he gave you a nickname, you were a friend,” he said.
On Sept. 28, the 28-year-old officer died from injuries he suffered when his motorcycle struck light-rail construction materials about 4:15 a.m. on southbound Loop 101. He had been riding home from work when he used an on-ramp closed to the public and hit the materials.
Silence was broken by the sound of bagpipes at 10 a.m. An estimated 500 people rose as Weeks’ family and fellow officers walked down the center aisle and sat before his U.S. flag-draped coffin.
The Rev. Juno Smalley asked mourners to remember Weeks as a friend, a son, a grandson — more than just a colleague.
“When death knocks on our door, we have an opportunity to pause,” Smalley said.
Tempe police Chief Ralph Tranter, who said Weeks’ death would remain one of the darkest moments of his career, recalled Weeks’ ability to take drunken drivers off the road and save many lives in doing so.
“Today we’re sad and proud,” Tranter said. “Sad for losing Kevin, and proud for what he accomplished.”
Weeks was not just a good officer, he was a great officer, Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said. He was a cop’s cop.
“In life, Kevin protected us, this entire community, in our darkest hours,” Hallman said.
Weeks joined the Tempe Police Department in 1999. He worked the patrol division for two years before transferring to the traffic bureau as a DUI enforcement officer. He served as an instructor and as a member of the Mounted Reserve Unit.
A funeral procession drove from the Tempe church to The Valley of The Sun Cemetery in Chandler for Weeks’ internment after 1 p.m. under gray skies. Weeks lived in Chandler as a teenager and graduated from Chandler High School.
Police officers, firefighters and a color guard stood at attention as three rifle volleys were fired overhead and a trumpeter played taps.
“Where do we go from here?” Butler asked during the funeral. “We can only go forward. Kevin made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Weeks is survived by his parents, Alan and Paula Weeks, his sister, Caryn Davis, and his girlfriend, Courtney Roberts.
Weeks’ crash happened within 100 yards where Gilbert officer Rob Targosz died on April 30. Targosz also was a DUI enforcement motorcycle officer. In that case, police arrested a man on suspicion of hit-and-run, red-light-running and drunken driving.