As Glen Ciano's family and loved ones walked from a Blue Point church following his funeral Mass Thursday, the gathered thousands paused and looked skyward.
Nine police helicopters swooped low overheard. A voice crackled from loudspeakers, calling Ciano's patrol car unit number.
"Headquarters to 2-18."
"Headquarters to 2-18," came the call again. Then, another voice: "Headquarters, be advised: 2-18 has made his last patrol."
After 22 years of service, Suffolk Police Officer Glen Ciano, 45, the longtime driver of Unit 218, died Sunday when his police cruiser collided with a car driven by a man accused of being drunk.
The department will retire Ciano's unit number.
He is the 22nd member of the department killed in the line of duty.
A patrol car bearing number 218 led the hearse carrying Ciano's coffin to Our Lady of Snow R.C. Church, where thousands in dress uniforms saluted the fallen officer. At the rear of the procession was Ciano's other favorite vehicle - a burly Yamaha motorcycle decked out in chrome and leather. The metallic-gray cruiser was riderless, towed by a fire chief's SUV.
The vehicles evoked memories of two sides of Glen Ciano: the first of his long career, during which he earned a reputation as a rock-solid, dependable cop, a veteran officer generous with his guidance. The second symbolized his private life: a proud father of two children just entering adulthood, a husband who loved to golf and cruise the roads of Long Island.
Ciano's Mass drew every stripe and color of law enforcement. Among the sea of Long Island police officers and firefighters who stood in formation along Blue Point Avenue was a group of university cops from Connecticut, county prosecutors, a Marine vet in a black leather jacket. A young mother wearing a badge shrouded in black attended to a babbling toddler at the rear of the crowd.
During the hourlong service, Rev. Edward D'Andrea's eulogy, relayed outdoors through speakers, painted an image of Ciano astride his motorcycle, jubilant, with a golf club in one hand. He spoke of Ciano's love for his family, his generosity, and his service. "He was a man of impeccable duty as a policeman . . . credible at what he did," D'Andrea said.
Two friends and colleagues, Fred Leyboldt and Patrick Martin, read Bible passages; one of his nieces, Kimberly, accompanied by a guitar, sang "Amazing Grace."
After the hearse bearing the coffin wrapped in the department flag left for a private burial in Bay Shore, a group of Second Precinct officers lingered.
For the last three years, Officer Shane Wild, 35, has driven Unit 218 during the day, often relating the events of his shift to his more senior colleague as Ciano began his regular midnight shift.
"Glen was such perfect representative of what a police officer should be. He always presented himself in an articulate and intelligent manner," Wild said. "I don't think you can replace him as a police officer or as a man."
Officer Anthony Surdich, 40, recalled Ciano standing amid often tense domestic disturbances, patiently listening to both sides. "He was always fair . . . and a calming presence, the voice of reason," he said.
"The outpouring of love today was tremendous," said Police Commissioner Richard Dormer after the service. "It shows how highly Officer Ciano was regarded. He was an outstanding officer and we will always honor his service to the people of Suffolk."
The man involved in the collision, Jose Borbon, 23, of Plainview, is now charged with aggravated drunken driving and is being held on bail.
Staff writer Jennifer Barrios contributed to this story.