Cleveland community prepares to say goodbye to fallen officer - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cleveland community prepares to say goodbye to fallen officer

CLEVELAND (WRCB) -- The Cleveland community is gathering to remember the life of a police officer killed in the line of duty.

Officer Justin Maples crashed his patrol car responding to a call Sunday night.

Friends and family made their way inside the funeral home one by one Wednesday afternoon.

There was plenty of police support, some as far away as Knoxville. Everyone says they came out support a fellow officer who was dedicated to doing the right thing.

"It makes me proud to wear this badge," Maples' brother-in-law, Officer Nathan King says. "I got dressed this morning like I've never before."

Officer Nathan King is a co-worker and brother-in-law of Officer Maples and says he is devastated by the loss of his friend. He says the overwhelming support of the community has allowed him to carry on since Maples' passing.

"Officer Maples was fearless and that is the highest compliment you can pay an officer," Officer King says. "He is, was that type."

Maples' died Sunday night after crashing his police cruiser on South Lee Highway.

Wednesday at his viewing, friends and family exchanged hugs and said goodbye to a public servant loved by many and dedicated to his job.

"I just heard it on the news about the wreck," friend, Phillip Crye says. "But he had three kids, that's a heart breaking thing."

Several agencies, emergency workers, family and friends made their way inside to pay their respects.

Officer King says despite the loss, officers are charged to move forward, but to never forget the service and memory of Maples.

"The guys that are really close to Officer Maples are looking at it like that," he says. "We have a job to do and we are going to send him off the best way we can."

The viewing will end at 8:00 p.m.    

The funeral will be held Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church on Stuart Road.

Click here for more on funeral arrangements for Officer Maples.

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