THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo
TEMPERANCE A graveside ceremony for a slain Toledo police detective ended this afternoon nearly five hours after a funeral where he was described as a courageous hero and caring family man.
The casket containing Detective Keith Dressel s body was taken from the hearse just before 3 p.m. at St. Anthony s Cemetery on Erie Road between Douglas and Secor roads. Pall bearers stepped carefully as they carried the casket over the remainder of cleared snow.
An honor guard of seven officers fired a three-volley shotgun salute. The American flag on the casket of Detective Dressel was folded into a triangle and presented to his widow. "Taps" was played, followed by "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes.
The graveside service did not start until nearly two hours after the end of the funeral Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church because of the time it took for hundreds of people to assemble near the grave.
The procession from the church to the cemetery was less than five miles long but involved almost 2,000 police cars and other vehicles.
Dozens of firefighters from the Toledo Fire Department and other area communities lined single file along the west side of Jackman Road leading to two fire aerial trucks at Temperance and Jackman. The firefighters saluted the passing hearse and procession. The aerial ladders were extended, and an American flag blew south to north in the wind.
After the somber procession passed under the arch, the Toledo police mounted patrol unit joined the procession to lead it to the cemetery. The unit was led by a riderless horse with boots turned backwards in the straps.
Earlier at the church, Ohio Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, who extended condolences from Gov. Ted Strickland, spoke from the pulpit directly to Detective Dressel s 4-year-old son, Noah.
You are in a room of heroes, Mr. Fisher said. Look around this room and see the men and women in uniform, your daddy s colleagues The biggest hero is your dad.
The two-hour funeral Mass ended just before 1 p.m. today with dozens playing bagpipes as Detective Dressel s body was taken from the church.
The Rev. Daniel Nusbaum called Detective Dressel, who was killed last week in North Toledo, a religious man and asked those attending the funeral Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church here to celebrate his life.
The very reason why Keith would be a member, and longed to be a member of the vice squad, was to care for the people no one else cared for at the cost of life, said Father Nusbaum, pastor of the church and Detective Dressel s cousin.
Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre, while fighting tears speaking near the end of the funeral Mass, recalled the call from Detective Dressel for help over the police radio on the morning he was killed.
We honor a true hero, Chief Navarre said. A young man who dedicated his life to this community.
The chief said he never thought he would have to tell the public one of his officers had been killed in the line of duty.
Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair, also speaking near the end of the Mass, extended condolences to Detective Dressel s family.
To Keith s family, may it be your great comfort and consolation that you will see Keith again, Bishop Blair said. In the meantime, there is the hard road of the cross. There is the hard road of faith.
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said Detective Dressel s children should know that their father was a true hero.
The measure of a man s life is not in the number of lives lived, rather it is in the service rendered in the days lived, Mayor Finkbeiner said.
Ken Dressel, Detective Dressel s uncle, said his nephew was a loving family man.
As much of a cop he was doing some of the most dangerous work in Toledo we would often see him sitting on the floor playing with the children at family gatherings, he said.
The funeral began at 11 a.m. today with more than 1,000 people crowding the sanctuary of the Catholic church to honor the fallen officer and about 1,500 others filling the parish hall and the gymnasium.
Detective Dressel was killed while on routine patrol in North Toledo early Wednesday
Mourners filed through the Bedford Funeral Chapel Sunday to pay their respects to Detective Dressel. Many said they did not know the 35-year-old vice squad detective.
Detective Dressel is the first Toledo police officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1970.
Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.