HANCOCK COUNTY — County officials, police officers, first responders and hundreds of residents lined U.S. 40 Monday, Sept. 26 to pay their respects during the funeral procession of Richmond Police Department K-9 officer Seara Burton.
Burton, 28, died on the evening of Sept. 18, five weeks after she was shot in the head during a traffic stop on Aug. 10. Burton was moved to hospice care two days after she was removed from life support on Sept. 1 at a hospital in Dayton, Ohio.
Following the funeral in Richmond, an estimated 500-car procession spanning approximately 9 miles traveled along U.S. 40 en route to Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. The procession, led by motorcycle officers, came through the Hancock County area around 4 p.m.
Jess McNew, Cambridge City, brought four of her six children to see the procession roll through Greenfield. Each of the kids had a small American Flag in hand waiting to wave it when Burton passed.
“I just wanted my kids to see this and understand this,” McNew said. “We’ve always tried to teach our children to respect law enforcement.”
U.S. 40 was shut down for a considerable amount of time during the proceedings. Area schools released students two hours early so they would not be caught up in the traffic.
Officials from the Greenfield Police Department sent out information late last week warning residents traffic through the city would be restricted during the procession. The GPD shut their offices at 3 p.m. Monday so many could attend the funeral procession.
Greenfield officials said they hoped to see hundreds of county residents line the streets through downtown Greenfield to pay honor to officer Burton and in turn pay respects to her family, friends and fellow officers, and they did.
Amy Walls was sitting on the wall outside of City Hall around 3 p.m. She was waiting for the procession to pass as well and said she didn’t mind how long it took for the line to get to Greenfield, she was going to wait to pay her respects.
“It’s a beautiful day and this is all about showing our respect to her, a woman in law enforcement,” Walls said.
Officials from the GPD said they had officers along with officers from the McCordsville and Fortville Police Departments in town Monday to pay respect and block intersections to keep traffic off of U.S. 40.
“We have employees and vehicles spread all along Main Street blocking intersections,” Deputy Chief Chuck McMichael said. “All of these departments and employees wanted to be involved and to pay their respects.”
Chief of Police Brian Hartman noted all city offices were closed Monday afternoon during the procession so all city employees could have an opportunity to pay respects to officer Burton. He said any time a procession passes, people should stop and truly pause since a soul is on their final ride, taking them to their forever resting place.
“Today is special for us in law enforcement as this is one of our own,” Hartman said. “Officer Burton might not wear GPD Blue, but she is our sister and she was willing to give her life to make Richmond a safer place for those who live there.”
He went onto say, “it takes a special person to be willing to sacrifice their life for another and that is what officer Burton did, and she has earned and deserves the respect she will get today as she passes through Greenfield on her way to her final resting place.”
Burton was a four-year veteran of the department in Richmond, which is about 52 miles east of Greenfield.