Phoenix Police Commander Greg Carnicle (EOW: March 29, 2020) and Officer Paul Rutherford (EOW: March 21, 2019) were two of the 701 fallen heroes who had their names etched on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and read by high-ranking government officials and leaders from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies during the 33rd Annual Candlelight Vigil. The vigil, which was part of National Police Weekend, was a time to honor the life and sacrifices of two heroes who shared a commitment to community and family.
On March 21, 2019, PLEA was devastated to learn about the passing of Officer Rutherford, who succumbed to injuries he received when he was struck by a vehicle near the intersection of 75th Avenue and Indian School Road. Always referring to himself as “the everyday, average, run-of-the-mill street cop,” Rutherford proved to be so much more during his 23 years of service with the Phoenix Police Department. Traveling to Washington, D.C., for the National Police Weekend events was Rutherford’s family, who were joined by Rutherford’s squad mates and officers from the Employee Assistant Unit.
A little over a year after Rutherford’s tragic passing, on March 29, Phoenix P.D. lost another hero — Commander Greg Carnicle, who was shot and killed while he and two other officers were responding to a domestic disturbance call. Carnicle served with the Department for 31 years and was scheduled to retire in just a few months. After the incident, Carnicle’s family provided the following statement to the Department: “There are literally no words that can properly convey the incredible man our husband and father was. He was a selfless man who was always there for a neighbor, a friend, his brothers in blue, but mostly his family. He dedicated his life to serve, protect, provide for, and love us. He was truly our hero and always will be. He touched many lives and many hearts have now been broken. We are beyond thankful for our community. We appreciate the outpouring of kind words and we hear your prayers. We know he will live on through the character and love he built in our family. We are strong because of him and we will do our best to live to the fullest to honor him.”
One of the most touching moments from the candlelight vigil came when Carnicle’s young grandson was seen kissing his grandfather’s picture on the memorial wall, a moment that serves as a reminder of the great loss each family faces with the loss of their loved one. We will always remember the bravery and sacrifices Commander Carnicle and Officer Rutherford made. They will always be in our thoughts and prayers.