- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 17, 2002

Thousands of law enforcement officials gathered yesterday at a Springfield church to honor the life and career of U.S. Park Police Officer Hakim Azim Farthing, who was struck and killed on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway last weekend.

Family members, supervisors and partners said they would cherish memories of the 28-year-old Philadelphia native and his sharp wit, warm camaraderie, unwavering patriotism and enduring loyalty.

Park Police Chief Teresa C. Chambers quoted from Officer Farthing's application as to why he sought a position with the department. "If given the opportunity, I will do your department proud," he wrote. "When my shift is over, I want that feeling of accomplishment."

Chief Chambers said his badge with number 408 will be honorably retired, the facility where he worked will be renamed after him, and the department will bestow an annual Hakim Farthing award to a Park Police officer who strongly contributes to drunken-driving enforcement.

She cited an Aug. 6 letter commending him for taking an illegal gun off the streets, which she referred to as "one of his favorite pastimes" because he knew it saved lives.

"This guy knew his stuff," Chief Chambers said. "It's clear where you will be spending your eternity. He is you are our hero."

Officer Farthing was killed about 3:30 a.m. Aug. 10 at the scene of a fatal car accident on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway ramp leading to New York Avenue. He had set up cones and flares directing motorists away from the accident scene when a car drove into the closed section and struck him.

His uncle, a Pennsylvania State Police corporal, credited his nephew and the other police officers with consistently demonstrating a remarkable willingness to serve the public.

"Once again, Hakim has shown the nation and the world that we are at all times prepared and willing to protect the people at all costs," Cpl. Joseph Farthing said. "We owe a debt of gratitude to his family for this strong, focused and fine young man and allowing us to have him as our brother and our friend."

When he finished speaking, Cpl. Farthing stood before the coffin draped with the American flag and firmly saluted.

Park Police Officer John Pommerehn said he and Officer Farthing proceeded through training together, beginning in October 2000.

"Our friendship grew and grew and grew every day," Officer Pommerehn said. "Our friendship turned into a brotherhood. He's my brother."

Officer Pommerehn injected a light-hearted note into the somber service when he recalled the nicknames he and Officer Farthing shared, based on the television show "Miami Vice."

"He was Tubbs and I was Crockett," Officer Pommerehn said. "I knew that whenever I was in a situation and Hakim was there I was safe." He said he hopes Officer Farthing knew the same.

As an honor guard prepared to escort Officer Farthing's casket out of the sanctuary, his sister Eshe-Ayo Farthing approached it and began to cry. She was briefly joined by her parents, who then escorted her back to her seat.

Outside, Officer Farthing's 3½-year-old son, Eric Joseph, was frightened by the 21-gun salute and began to cry.

Eight helicopters then flew overhead, and his badge and car numbers were called out of service.

Officer Farthing's casket was transported in a procession through the District, past Park Police headquarters.

Alexandria and Arlington County firefighters stood on bridges above Route 395 North, ready to salute the fallen officer as the procession passed.

A funeral service was scheduled for this morning in Philadelphia.

The woman accused of striking Officer Farthing faces charges of driving under the influence and involuntary manslaughter. A federal judge released Jovada Welch, 20, of Silver Spring from jail Thursday and sent her to a halfway house in the District.

Miss Welch is believed to be eligible for additional charges. A federal grand jury is expected to hear evidence and return an indictment in less than three weeks.

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