Pa. officer slain off duty remembered as a peacemaker

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Post by NHGF [Feed] » Wed Jul 24, 2019 5:55 pm

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Author: Calibre Press
By Tom Davidson The Tribune-Review PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh police Officer Calvin Hall lived to make a difference. In death, he was remembered as someone who did so daily through his work and the way he lived. Even though he wasn’t wearing a uniform when he was shot, an important part of the uniform was something he never took off, the Rev. Earlene Coleman said Tuesday during Hall’s funeral at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland. “There’s another piece to the uniform of officers, another piece that’s not seen by the natural eye. A caring heart. The heart of a peacemaker. That cannot be removed,” Coleman said. “The heart that wants to keep peace, the heart that wants to make peace. The heart that wants to protect others as well as him or herself. The caring heart is never off duty.” Hall was buried in Homewood Cemetery with a gun salute, police helicopter fly over and the presentation of the flag that draped Hall’s casket to his family. Honoring one of their own. @PghPolice officers march along 5th Ave in Oakland on their way to Soldiers & Sailors Hall for the funeral of fallen officer Calvin Hall. @KDKA pic.twitter.com/6gJiHAXHjw — Ian Smith (@ismithKDKA) July 23, 2019 Hall, 36, was shot July 14 in Homewood and died three days later from the wounds he suffered while trying to quell an argument at a party on Monticello Street. Police on Monday charged Christian Bey, 30, of Pittsburgh in connection with the homicide. The complaint is sealed, and authorities haven’t released details about the charges he faces. Hall was off duty when he was shot but was acting under the color of the law, police have said. The service Tuesday was a celebration of Hall’s life and a call to action for those in attendance to work to make the difference in their communities as Hall did. Hundreds of uniformed police officers from across the region filed into the hall in solemn silence, including a group of Allegheny County Police Academy cadets who looked on from the balcony. Hall’s flag draped casket was in the front of the room, flanked by wreaths and flower arrangements. A large picture of Hall in his police uniform on the day he was sworn in as a Pittsburgh police officer was displayed on a screen above the stage. “I remember that day,” Mayor Bill Peduto said as he looked up at Hall’s photograph. “One of the best parts the job is being able to give the oath of office to public safety officials as they start their vocation.” Peduto said he tells new officers before they take the oath that it is more than a job. People like Hall understand that. Police mark happy and sad occasions with bagpipes and, when he hears them at an induction ceremony, Peduto said he offers a small prayer that he doesn’t have to hear them at a funeral. INCREDIBLE: Officer Michael Gray performs "Amazing Grace" during the memorial service for fallen Pittsburgh Police officer Calvin Hall. ?? LATEST DETAILS: https://t.co/lb40ACzjS9 WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/ApkNc1CxL8 pic.twitter.com/1tpEBF0Y2i — KDKA (@KDKA) July 23, 2019 “But we’re gathered here today,” Peduto said. He thanked Hall’s family for “sharing him with us” as Hall made sacrifices as a police officer. Hall was living his dream by working for the force in Pittsburgh, Peduto said, and made a difference in his assignment as the Northview Heights Public Safety Center, where he worked “not only to police the community, but to bring peace to the community.” Hall’s supervisor, Sgt. Joe Lewis, expanded upon Peduto’s assessment. “Gotta go. Time for me to make a difference,” Hall would tell the desk officer each day when he left for his shift, Lewis said. “This was not just something that Calvin would say, it was his philosophy about work as well as life,” Lewis said. Hall made a difference both as a police officer and as a man, and he embodied the effort of community-oriented policing, Lewis said. He was a role model and positive influence for youth in the neighborhood, and he was willing to pursue bad guys, all the while doing so with a smile on his face, Lewis said. Hall’s partner and polar opposite, Officer Reggie Eiland, remembered reluctantly going along with the decision to team up the pair, despite their differences. Eiland was younger. Hall was in his 30s. Eiland was tall. Hall was short. Eiland was quiet and reserved. Hall was an enthusiastic talker. They ended up becoming like brothers, Eiland said: Cal and Reg. Their personalities balanced each other, and they were a team both on and off duty, Eiland said. They missed each other the last few weeks of Hall’s life, as Eiland was temporarily assigned elsewhere, but they exchanged text messages, most of which were “When are you coming back, Reg?” Cadets from the Allegheny County Police Academy line up outside Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall an hour before Pittsburgh police Officer Calvin Hall’s funeral. pic.twitter.com/T1JWvGruon — Tom Davidson (@TribDavidson) July 23, 2019 Eiland was three hours away at a bachelor party when he heard about the shooting, drove to the hospital and never left his partner’s side until Hall died. “When Calvin died in front of my face, I could not believe it. I lost my partner, and I lost my brother,” Eiland said. “I sit back and think why him, why Calvin, this isn’t fair, how could this happen to a beautiful person?” It’s tough to take, but Eiland asked that people follow Hall’s example and live life as he led it. “We must make sure of that,” Eiland said. Hall’s family thanked Eiland in the program handed out at the funeral. “There are no words that can adequately describe how grateful we are for the love, dedication and loyalty that you showed your fellow officer,” Hall’s family wrote in thanks to Eiland in the program. “You never left his side. You were there day and night, as were so many other officers.” The family also thanked Hall’s fellow officers, Peduto, Police Chief Scott Schubert, Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich, Zone 1 Commander Christopher Ragland and Lewis. “Your support, love and kind words will be imprinted on our hearts forever,” the family wrote in the program. Hall’s sister, Eugenia Hall-Miller, spoke for the family at the service. Two days before Hall was shot, the pair exchanged several phone calls. On Tuesday, Hall-Miller regretted never meeting up with him that day. When she got the call that her brother was shot, Hall-Miller asked if he was on duty. When she learned he wasn’t, she worried, because it meant he wouldn’t be wearing a bulletproof vest. “His compassion for others and the love he had for others was like no other,” Hall-Miller said of her brother. She called him the glue that held the family together and reiterated his passion for being a police officer. “He was determined to build a bridge between civilians and police officers,” she said. The funeral included the reading of Psalm 23 by Detective Adam Beatty and John 14 by Officer Dustin Brozell. Officer Michael Gay sang “Amazing Grace” and Curtis Washington, Hall’s father, sang “I Loved You Before” — a song Washington wrote for his children that had been unfinished until Hall’s death inspired him to complete it. ©2019 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)



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