Memorial Service for fallen GRPD Officer Joshua Briese

Roberto A. Jackson

Communications & Public Affairs Office


A June 8 memorial service for fallen Gila River Police Department (GRPD) Officer Joshua Briese was the last goodbye in Arizona before he was laid to rest in his home state of Montana.


Law enforcement led a procession to the Sun Valley Community Church – South Gilbert campus in Gilbert, to begin the memorial for 23-year-old Officer Briese, who was killed during an incident in the early morning of June 1. Loved ones and community members gathered to mourn Officer Briese, while hundreds of law enforcement members, including many from GRPD, saluted the young man who died after being with the department for less than a year.


The procession arrived at the church with guests gathered outside to meet the casket, which was carried inside by GRPD Honor Guard. The memorial service was led by Pastor Brett Humphrey.


Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis was among the speakers at the service, along with GRPD Chief Jesse Crabtree and Capt. Kent O’Donnell with the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office in Billings, Montana.


Gov. Lewis recounted the morning he received the news.


“I had no idea how tragic the news would be,” said Gov. Lewis.


Gov. Lewis’ words reflected on Officer Briese’s untimely death, but also his qualities as a human being.

“Josh was special – a young man with unimaginable strength, with character beyond question, and with a spirit of service that is all too rare today,” Gov. Lewis told the gathered mourners.


Chief Crabtree mentioned how unthinkable it was for GRPD to lose an officer. He said GRPD was “brought to their knees” and that the young officer left an indelible mark during his time with GRIC.


Capt. O’Donnell knew Briese as a young boy when his father, Yellowstone County, Montana, Deputy Sheriff David Briese was killed in a car crash outside Billings on his way to back-up another deputy handling a DUI suspect, according to Yellowstone County officials. Joshua Briese was six years old at the time.


The memorial concluded with a eulogy by Pastor Humphrey. The procession left the church following an outside salute with a last radio call, three-volley salute, a flyover, flag folding, a rendition of Taps along with traditional bagpipes.