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Officer Joshua Briese laid to rest next to his father at Rockvale Cemetery

Posted at 8:51 AM, Jun 13, 2024

With hundreds of law enforcement from Arizona to Montana present, Officer Joshua Briese was laid to rest Wednesday afternoon at Rockvale Cemetery in Carbon County.

Briese is from Billings but was killed in the line of duty in Arizona while working for the Gila River Police Department. His father, David Briese, was killed in the line of duty while working for the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office in 2006.

Briese's final resting place is right next to his father, and for many, the sites and sounds of a lengthy procession and emotional funeral at the Rockvale Cemetary was far too familiar.

"Josh wanted to make a statement," said Briese's older sister Kylie Moore. "He wanted to make a name and he wanted to search where he came from."

Moore said Briese had always wanted to serve, and even his father's death didn't change his mind.

"I think Josh got to find why his dad got up every day and made the choice to have the career he had," Moore said. "I think he was questioning, you know, why? Like why did dad do what he did day in and day out, and I think he wanted to feel what his dad felt. I'm proud to say that I think Josh found that."

Before the service, a lengthy procession led the casket from MetraPark to the cemetery. The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office flew its helicopter overhead as well.

Among those in attendance were Briese's coworkers from Gila River. His former Police Chief Jesse Crabtree said Briese impacted every life he touched.

"We definitely benefited from him being in the community and helping us out," Crabtree said.

Crabtree said his department has been taking his death hard.

"You never expect this as a chief of police," Crabtree said. "You never expect this to happen. You see it on the news, you see it around the country, but you never expect it's going to come home."

Crabtree said accompanying Briese to Billings from Arizona was an honor.

"We were honored to bring him home to Montana and just asked the family to keep an eye on him because we're just too far south," Crabtree said as his eyes welled with tears.

Before the service ended, Briese received his final call for service. When he was unable to respond, the call thanked him for his service before lowering his casket into the ground right next to his father.

"They didn't take it out in anger like I did," Moore said. "They found a way to make it bright."


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