Indiana State Police Master Trooper James Bailey laid to rest in Garrett
Indiana State Police Master Trooper James Bailey, killed after being hit by a car while helping to manage traffic from traffic accidents on Interstate 69 is in his final resting place after his funeral on Saturday.
The funeral, at Bailey’s alma mater Garrett High School, had an audience of about 1,000 people with roughly 30 different law enforcement agencies from across the country represented.
Those included several from across Indiana: the Fort Wayne Police Department, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, the Mishawaka Police Department, the South Bend Police Department, the St. Joseph County Police Department, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, the Auburn Police Department, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, the Fishers Police Department, the Carmel Police Department and so on, as well as the Texas, Nebraska, New York and Arkansas State Police Departments.
Bailey is survived by his wife Amy; son, Joseph and daughter Sophia.
Among the funeral attendees were Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, U.S. Senator Mike Braun and Governor Eric Holcomb.
Holcomb described Bailey as a hero to though the end and called Bailey’s life the “book of James” which he said is still being written.
“James’s brothers and sisters in uniform, regardless of the color of that uniform, regardless of seniority,” Holcomb said. “They will continue to do what you know they will do, and that is to be there for you, Sophia, Joseph and Amy and the whole extended family. Being there for the Baileys is the next chapter in the book of James because he loved serving.”
Some of Bailey’s closest friends spoke at the service. They recalled his deep desire to live an impactful life serving others and taking care of his family.
Bailey died trying to help end a police pursuit he wasn’t part of.
He heard the radio traffic from his vehicle as he was helping to manage traffic from wrecks on I-69 and deployed stop sticks to try to stop the fleeing suspect.
The suspect, 42-year-old Terry Sands II, struck Bailey and is now facing multiple felony charges, including murder, according to court documents.
Indiana State Police Sergeant Matt Lazoff said Bailey’s actions that day were part of his character.
“Bailey tried to stop a fleeing person because he knew his brothers and sisters were ahead and could be in danger,” Lazoff said. “Bailey died a hero.”
Bailey’s closest friends and colleagues called his actions on that day “heroic,” but it wasn’t the first time his community considered him a hero.
In 1990, Bailey was a player on Garrett High School’s basketball team and hit the game-winning shot against rival DeKalb, leading to his team’s first victory over DeKalb High School in 20 years.
Rob Bell was friends with Bailey for 45 years and said there was never anything one wouldn’t do for the other.
“He fought and beat cancer a second time, and we really cemented our relationship as brothers,” Bell said. “No matter how long it had been since we talked, when the other one needed something, we were the first ones there.”
Bailey beat cancer three times in his life and also maintained a 15-year career as a state trooper.
State Police First Sergeant Robert Smith, another childhood friend of Bailey’s, said Bailey’s desire for that career began before high school.
“Bailey and I, in middle school, made a pact,” Smith said. “We were going to be state troopers. Bailey battled cancer in middle school, and that sidelined our pact for a few years. I fulfilled my end of the pact of being a trooper. Bailey recovered from his cancer, and I pushed him to do the same and become an Indiana state trooper.”
Bailey was appointed to the Indiana State Police Department in July of 2007. His family meant everything to him. His fellow troopers knew that, and Lazoff reminded Bailey’s family that they are not alone.
“At this time, I would like the members of the Indiana State Police to please stand,” Lazoff said. “Amy, last night, I told you that you’ve adopted a lot of sarcastic, opinionated individuals, and I wanted you to look around this gym and see your family. We will be there, no matter what you need, forever.”
Following the service, Bailey’s casket was escorted to the hearse before a procession that filled two parking lots at Garrett High School.
The procession included an aerial escort from an Indiana State Police helicopter, took him to his final resting place at Calvary Cemetery in Garrett.
He was 50 years old.