ELKHART — Local law enforcement agencies will join the thousands of people attending the funeral of an Indianapolis officer who grew up in Nappanee.
Officers from Nappanee, Goshen, Elkhart, Bremen and the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department will leave early Thursday morning, Sept. 26, to Indianapolis for the funeral of Rod Bradway. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer was shot and killed early Friday morning, Sept. 20, during a domestic dispute call.
Because of Bradway’s local ties to the community in Elkhart County, police departments will be sending several squad cars and officers to the funeral.
Bradway, raised in Nappanee, attended NorthWood High School and was a member of the school’s football team. His parents were owners of Curtis TV and Appliance, an electronics store in downtown Nappanee. Bradway’s grandfather was a volunteer firefighter for Nappanee, said Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson.
Bradway worked at the Wayne Township Fire Department for 10 years before starting at the IMPD as an officer in 2007.
He said Bradway and his brother, Chip, were also very active in the community when they lived in Nappanee.
“His parents were just involved in so much in Nappanee. I think people just feel awful about this,” he said.
Thompson will be one of the speakers at the service.
“I’m just honored to be a small part of it.”
Thompson noted Nappanee has mourned the loss of other officers in the last 25 years.
Sgt. Brant “Butch” Nine, was killed in action Nov. 3, 1988. Six years later, Detective Phillip Hochstetler, a former Nappanee officer who was working for the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, was killed June 29, 1994.
“I will never forget when Butch Nine died, the hearse at the beginning of the funeral was at Bremen Cemetery, which was 8 miles away, and the last cars were just leaving Nappanee. And I’m sure this is going to be much larger,” he said.
Thompson said the community feels the need to show their support as a response to the involvement of Tom and Sheri Bradway, Rod Bradway’s parents.
Sheri Bradway used to work at a local weekly publication, taking photos of sporting events. She also operated Curtis TV and Appliances.
Tom Bradway was a teacher and a member of the Wa-Nee Community School Board. Both were active participants in committees that helped attract tourists to the community.
And both were very helpful when a tornado ripped through the town in 2007, said Thompson.
“They’re just small-town people who helped their community in a lot of ways and now tragedy has struck them and I think people feel awful for them.”
Nappanee Police Chief Julie Dijkstra said a total of seven police officers, a representative of the fire department and representative of emergency services will leave early Thursday morning. Leaving with them will be a minimum of two squad cars from the Elkhart Police Department, said Sgt. Steve Williams, of the police department’s services division.
The two departments, along with a bus with Nappanee residents who want to show their support, will have a caravan going to Indianapolis.
The two departments will meet near Indianapolis with Indianapolis police, who will lead them to the funeral site.
Marah Lee Nine, the wife of officer Brant Nine, will go with the Nappanee Police Department to the funeral as well.
About 1,000 police cars are anticipated to participate in the funeral; procession Thursday. The procession will leave Bankers Life Fieldhouse following a public memorial at 11 a.m., and end at Crown Hill Cemetery, according to reports from The Indianapolis Star.
The procession will pass Wayne Township Fire Department, where Bradway worked before joining the IMPD, and will pause at the Northwest District, where he was assigned as a police officer.