published Friday, April 8th, 2011

Final salute

The patrol sergeant’s number, 554, was announced over the radio.

But after 26 years of service with the Chattanooga Police Department, the sergeant will never answer a call again.

“End of watch. April 2, 2011. May he rest in peace,” police called over the radio one last time for Sgt. Tim Chapin, who was killed Saturday trying to apprehend a robbery suspect.

“We had the distinct honor of serving along side him,” Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said through tears at Chapin’s funeral Thursday. “His death created a great void in our lives, our community and our department that we’ll never be able to fill.”

Jesse Mathews, 25, is accused of shooting Chapin in the head outside a Brainerd Road pawnshop.

Dodd, who began his service with Chattanooga police around the same time as Chapin, described the sergeant as a “calm, peaceful and thoughtful” person who “put people at ease.”

Dodd paused for a moment, struggling to keep his composure for the few minutes he spoke.

  • Thousands gather for Sgt. Chapin's memorial service
    Thousands lined Hixson Pike as family, friends, and law enforcement officials from around the entire area attended the memorial service for Sgt. Timothy Chapin. Sgt. Chapin was killed Saturday while responding to an armed robbery call at U.S. Money Shops on Brainerd Road.

“Tim, you’re a hero,” he said with tearful eyes and a quivering voice. “You’re my hero, and you’ll be sorely missed.”

Close to a dozen doves were released at Chapin’s gravesite in Hixson’s Hamilton Memorial Gardens on Highway 153. Another dove was released immediately after the first dozen, symbolizing Chapin following those who have gone before him.

At the burial, Chapin’s wife, Kelle, clutched an American flag presented to her. Her children, Allison and Nicholas, stood beside her, with Chapin’s casket in front of them. The family remained composed throughout the services, but lingered for a few moments as others began to leave the grave site.

Ron Phillips is senior pastor at Abba’s House Central Baptist Church, where Chapin was a church member for 22 years. Phillips spoke before the burial service to about 2,800 mourners, most of whom were wearing law enforcement uniforms.

Phillips noted that, when Chapin was confronting the robber, he chose to draw his Taser instead of a gun to show less force.

“He could have shot this man,” said Phillips. “My advice is to shoot him and then Taser him.”

Phillips also spoke of Chapin’s sacrifice and faith in God.

“Some say Tim lost his life. No, Tim gave his life for his community,” he said. “There’s a difference.”

  • Chief Bobby Dodd remembers Sgt. Chapin
    Watch as Chattanooga Police Chief, Bobby Dodd, speaks during Sgt. Timothy Chapin's memorial service. Video courtesy WRCB Channel 3.

Outside the church just before services began, a long motorcade of marked patrol cars from various surrounding law enforcement agencies, ranging from the Knoxville Police Department to the Georgia State Patrol, flashed blue lights as Chapin’s body was brought to the church in a hearse.

Before the service, only a handful of spectators stood outside, watching as hundreds of officers lined up out of respect to receive one of their own. But by the time the service was over, hundreds of people had lined up, waving flags and memorial signs as the funeral procession left the church and walked down Hixson Pike to the cemetery.

Many spectators were silent and some saluted as a fleet of motorcycles filed out of the church parking lot, followed by the honor guard, thousands of mourners and North Carolina Trooper’s Association horses, pulling a caisson with Chapin’s casket.

Tears began to stream down people’s faces as the coffin passed. Some placed their hands over their hearts.

Soddy-Daisy police officer Eric Jenkins walked in the procession and remembers when he began as a rookie Chattanooga police officer. Chapin was one of his training officers.

“He took care of us by doing the job. He knew how to handle and deal with everything,” said Jenkins in a previous interview. “He was a really good friend.”

  • Pastor Ron Phillips remembers Sgt. Chapin
    Watch as Abba's House pastor, Ron Phillips, speaks during Sgt. Timothy Chapin's memorial service. Video courtesy WRCB Channel 3.

Becky Seale, 39, of Hixson, never met Chapin, but she waited a couple of hours to attend visitation at Abba’s House on Wednesday and stood alongside Hixson Pike as the funeral procession passed.

“He’s an officer. These officers put their lives on the line every day,” she said. “When one loses their life, we should come out and pay respects.

“I’ve never seen so many people. There were people like me who didn’t even know him. There were officers from all over.”

Seale said there was something that struck her about Chapin’s story.

  • Sgt. Chapin Funeral Service
    April 7 2011 funeral service at Abba's House for slain police officer Sgt. Tim Chapin

“Just going to a call for an armed robbery — knowing that you might not come home — but you do it anyway,” she said.

During visitation and the service inside Abba’s House, photos from Chapin’s childhood and family photographs flashed upon screens. They showed the officer in his home, out with friends and playing with his children in the snow. In almost all of them, Chapin wore a quiet, slight smile.

“To see pictures of him, you got a sense of who he was,” Seale said.

In one old photo, Chapin held his daughter, Allison, on his shoulders, her hands folded on top of his head.

“That’s Daddy’s girl. That’s the best seat in the house,” Seale said, smiling.

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Brothernblue said...

God speed Sgt. Chapin,

It is a sad day to have lost yet another Brother whom I have never met. My heart and prayers go out to the Chapin Family, Friends and the fellow LEO'S who were blessed with knowing this brave Officer. My heart and prayers also go out to all the additional Officer's and citizens who were involved in or wittnessed this tragic event.

R.I.P Sgt. Chapin

April 8, 2011 at 7:22 a.m.
pNc said...

It's sad when any life is lost. Be it that of an individual in authority or the average citizen wrongly killed. A human life is a human life. There's no one life anymore or less valuable than the next.

What is actually disturbing is that some of this downed officer's fellow brothers in blue are venting their frustration with angry outbursts in a manner that actually dishonor this man, his family, this tragedy and even their own profession.

It has been a sad period for all of Chattanooga since this senseless tragedy happened, but the way some are dealing with their grief is deplorable and should be unacceptable. It makes them worse than the criminals they go after.

April 8, 2011 at 3:06 p.m.
Facts said...

pNc, I'm not sure what your agenda, but please don't hide behind fake sorrow to criticize our officers. I would be willing to bet you are somehow affiliated with the Plaintiff's Bar or some activist pursuing "rights"...this man and his family have infringed upon the ultimate right of life. Team Matthews have no "right" to claim victimhood. Save it.

April 8, 2011 at 4:41 p.m.
pNc said...

Facts said...

pNc, I'm not sure what your agenda, but please don't hide behind fake sorrow to criticize our officers. I would be willing to bet you are somehow affiliated with the Plaintiff's Bar or some activist pursuing "rights"...this man and his family have infringed upon the ultimate right of life. Team Matthews have no "right" to claim victimhood. Save it.

My sorrow is sincere. Yours is apparently fake. What does that term mean? To "'infringe on the ULTIMATE RIGHT TO LIFE?" When did a "civilized" society began to determine who has the ultimate right to life? This is not 1930s-1940s Germany. I thought America was better than that.

I'm not the Plaintiff's Bar neither some activist pursuing "rights" either. I just know that so goes the ones deemed the best of us, so goes the REST OF U.S.

April 8, 2011 at 7:56 p.m.
Haiku said...

I once watched as flag draped coffins were being unloaded at Dover Delaware Air Force Base of service men and women who'd been killed in the war zone. I tried as hard as I could to hate. I honestly did. I felt something must be wrong with me. That I must be abnormal in a mist of normals. After all, most seem to find it quite easy to hate even in the most calm of times. Why couldn't I? Instead of hate, I found myself weeping and praying for both those inside those flag draped coffins and their families as well as those we'd been told were the enemy and their families. Only then when I gave up on trying so hard to hate did I find calm and peace. And it was at that moment that I knew I was right with God.

We aren't required to forgive and forget. However, hopefully there's a lesson here for us all to learn, live and abide by. That we remember life is both fleeting and precious, Fragile yet strong. Life is sacred. And hopefully, at some point, we'll come to learn to respect life, all life, even that of our enemy. Even the life of those who would do us harm.

Watching those flag draped coffins @ Dover Delaware Air Force Base, I learned a valuable lesson. Such intense hatred on serves to dishonor the very one we wish to honor.

At some point, hopefully, Chattanooga will move beyond their present grief and join in celebrating the fact that all life is sacred.

Picture from The Memory Hole/Dover Delware:

http://wayback.archive-it.org/924/20080312231902im_/http://thememoryhole.org/war/coffin_photos/dover/casket08.jpg

April 8, 2011 at 10:15 p.m.
Facts said...

Apparently, it's rather common practice in determining who should live & die. Our culture celebrates the "reproductive rights" of murdering a conceived child and that murderers should be treated as victims. When, on the cross, Christ spoke to the one "criminal", did the one who acknowleged Christ as Lord have his punishment of death on a cross, the most shameful form of punishment in the world at that time, reversed. No. He died for his crime, but was forgiven his sin because of his confession. To think that one should not pay for their crimes only incentivize more heinous crime.

April 8, 2011 at 11:40 p.m.
eyesWIDEopen said...

Facts said... When, on the cross, Christ spoke to the one "criminal", did the one who acknowleged Christ as Lord have his punishment of death on a cross, the most shameful form of punishment in the world at that time, reversed. No. He died for his crime, but was forgiven his sin because of his confession. To think that one should not pay for their crimes only incentivize more heinous crime.


The one criminal Jesus spoke to was punished by the laws of that time and not by a lynch mob seeking revenge. I don't think there is anyone advocating Mathews not be held accountable for his crime, and his family too according to whatever degree if any they were in anyway involved. That is and has never been the issue. The issues are there seem to be so many taking the law into their own hands, even members of LE.

I also believe neither Mathews nor any of his family members should be held at the Hamilton County Jail, but perhaps another jail. Emotions are running far too high and I just don't think the jailers are capable of impartial and profession. For them it's all personal. I've known them to mistreat the arrested for far lesser cause than this. For the simple excuse that the arresting officer place in a report the citizen smarted mouth off at the officer. They've been known to mistreat an individual as a "courtesy" and on behalf of the arresting officer who felt he or she had been dissed by said citizen. I also believe the local or International Red Cross should be allowed in to make sure neither the prisoner nor his family is being abused by jailers.

Again, Matthews should be charged, convicted, even to death, by the court system and not some vengeful posse and lynch mob led by local sheriff.

April 9, 2011 at 2:06 p.m.
sweetgurl01 said...

Hey eyeswideopen not only should that peice of crap scum and his scumbag family should be held in Hamilton county jail I have faith that the jailers will do their job to the highest of professionalism without malace so with that said shut your face because you dont know what you are talking about.The spot light is on them and they will do the right thing. They will not dishonor the badge or Sgt Tim Chapin for sorry peice of scum like them.

April 9, 2011 at 10:16 p.m.
McRand said...

Things were going fine at the funeral service until what the preacher said about Mathews "I'd of shot him first and then tazered him".

I'm always amazed when Christians seek to push for intimidate vengeful termination of a murderer, rather than let the person live and be given a chance for the Holy Spirit to turn his or her heart to the Lord. God forgave the murderer king David and called him a man after His own heart.When Jesus said "forgive them for they know not what they do" I'm sure He was pleading for them to be given a chance for repentance. He surely wasn't taking a spirit for their deaths for the crucifixion they brought Him to.

Sometimes there is no alternative but to take immediate action to a lethal end, but should that not take place and the perpetrator lives, we should let God have His way for He says "Vengeance is mine,... I will repay", and let His will work out the situation.

April 10, 2011 at 8:50 a.m.
chioK_V said...

@McRand said... Things were going fine at the funeral service until what the preacher said about Mathews "I'd of shot him first and then tazered him".


Are we at all surprised? After all, this is the bible belt. No different than those Islamic terrorists many southern "christians" so deplore when declaring MY GOD IS BETTER THAN YO' GOD. ain't so!!

April 10, 2011 at 12:14 p.m.
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