Glenn Hilliard’s choice to make law enforcement a 20-year career required commitment and sacrifice, and that is what the community celebrated at his funeral Tuesday.
The service for slain Wicomico Deputy 1st Class Glenn R. Hilliard at Emmanuel Wesleyan Church was a celebration of the life of the New Jersey native and Berlin resident.
Amid photos of Hilliard with his family and colleagues projected onto a screen, thousands of civilians and officers from a myriad of departments waited in line to pay their respects.
With a full police escort, Hilliard’s family — including his wife, Tashica Hilliard, and their three children, De’Aijah Hobbs, Jersi Hilliard and Trenton Hilliard — was escorted into the church.
Chief Arnold Downing of the Berlin Police Department recalled Hilliard as a man with a vision for his future when he first interviewed him for a job.
“Are you running from something or to something?” Downing had asked. It was then that Hilliard would speak about wanting to provide for his family and looking for opportunities to grow as an officer.
Pastor Dana Bunting Stauffer of the church of said “Glenn loved what he did so much that he went out on that battlefield to protect us and his family. I’m grateful that he was our protector, and if it meant chasing down an assailant, he would.”
The charismatic man behind the badge was remembered as a dedicated father and active member of his church.
Dwayne Searwar, Hilliard’s childhood friend, spoke of Hilliard in 1997 as a student at University High School in New Jersey who quickly ingratiated himself to the cross section of students.
“He was great partner and great friend,” Searwar said.
Detective Chip Oakley and 1st Sgt. Burley Williams, both of the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, regaled the packed church with the stories of a gifted electronic technician and good friend who made the workday memorable.
“I’m really honored to be here on behalf of the people of Maryland and on behalf of a grateful state,” said Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford. “I’ve read stories of DFC Hilliard. It spoke of his love for his work, family and his (colleagues).
“Trust in the Lord as you cope with this devastating loss and hold on to the good memories of him,” Rutherford said.
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis said this event was to remember him as a husband, father and decorated officer.
“To his family, it is so difficult what we’re feeling here today as we bid farewell to a colleague and a brother. Tragically, the act of giving up one’s life in the line of duty happens too often,” Lewis said.
Lewis recalled Hilliard’s ambition as he prepared for a promotion to corporal.
“Our badge represents the trust of those we are sworn to protect. That is our way of life, and that was Glenn Hilliard’s way of life,” Lewis said.
Lewis promoted Hilliard to the rank of corporal and awarded posthumously the Wicomico County Medal of Valor for conspicuous acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty.
The Rev. Theophilus Hobbs III, father of Tashica Hilliard, eulogized his son-in-law.
“Glenn was living this life to live again. Law-abiding citizens should see all these police officers as ministers of God. (Glenn) had this ability to de-escalate a situation, and if I abide by the law and these scriptures, I will not fear making it into God’s kingdom,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs also noted faith is the key to dealing with the turmoil of such a loss.
Internment was scheduled for later in the day in Sunset Memorial Park in Berlin.