Wartburg Police captain laid to rest

9:02 PM, May 7, 2011   |    comments
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  • 26-mile procession honors Wartburg Police Capt.
  • Capt. Ralph Braden, 57, passed away after being in a coma for a week

Wartburg Police Captain Ralph Braden worked in law enforcement for nearly two decades. Now, his comrades, friends and loved ones are saying their goodbyes to the officer described as "personable" and "outstanding."

Funeral services were held Saturday at Central Middle School for the 57-year-old.

Braden's family tells 10News he was in a coma for several days. The captain's health problems began a few weeks ago, when he developed a blood clot. That happened the day after Braden got into a fight with a domestic violence suspect.

Agencies from as far away as Chattanooga and Lebanon came out to honor their fellow officer.

"I worked with him for some 20 some odd years and the whole time I knew Ralph, he was an outstanding person," said Morgan County sheriff Glen Freytag.

After the funeral, officers led a 26-mile procession from Wartburg to the burial site in Briceville.

"It's a loss to the whole law enforcement community; he was well liked," Sheriff Freytag added. "He was a brother in law enforcement."

During the ride to Briceville, several people including Morgan County attorney Andrew Hill, held signs that read "thank you" for Capt. Braden.

"Ralph was just a heck of a good guy; even if he hadn't been in law enforcement, he would've been a heck of a good guy," said Hill. "But he's even better for law enforcement because he used his goodness to help people."

Members of the Wartburg Police Department choked up during the funeral, saying they will never be the same.

"We want each and every one of you to know that you're here today to honor one of the greatest police officers," Officer Dwayne Bales said to the audience. "One of the finest men you'll ever meet."

A fund for funeral expenses has been set up at Citizen's First Bank in Wartburg.

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