I never knew Phil Bush. I never got the opportunity to work with him. I was never the target of one of his practical jokes. And yet, I remember the somber feeling I had in the pit of my stomach when I learned of his passing.
A carpenter by trade, Phil Bush hung up his tools to become a police officer in 1997. He served with the Placentia Police Department (California) for fifteen years in all different types of capacities, but his specialty was narcotics. A few years ago, Phil was selected to join the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Orange County Regional Task Force, a position which he embraced. He also started the testing process to promote to sergeant. Phil’s love for law enforcement never matched his love for his family. His loving wife of many years and four beautiful children were the joy of his life. Phil was also a man of great faith, actively involved in his church.
Early in 2012, Phil was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He continued to work his assignments at the Placentia Police Department and the DEA, even while undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatments. On November 14th, 2012, Detective Phil Bush went “End of Watch” and passed away after a 10-month battle with the cancer.
As I arrived at the church this morning for Phil’s memorial service, I was not surprised to see the street already lined with marked police units, some from as far away as Los Angeles County. There were countless men and women from several different agencies in uniform: dark blues, light blues, tan and greens, and grays. When I walked by officers from different agencies talking with one another before the service, they all acted as if they were brothers of old. Though they had never met before this day, they were somehow bonded together by the uniform and badge. I could not help but crack a small smile because I was reminded at that moment that we in law enforcement never walk alone. We are a family in blue and we uphold each other to help bear burdens in our greatest time of need; today was that day for the Bush Family.
When uniformed personnel finished filing into the church, there was not an open seat left in the sanctuary. Chief Hicks and Sergeant Busse from the Placentia Police Department gave heart-wrenching accounts of Phil’s work to keep the City of Placentia a safe place. It was a beautiful service in celebration of Phil’s life. We can all rest assured that Phil has received his eternal reward and is walking his new beat on streets of gold inside heaven’s gates. And so this is what we remember about Detective Phil Bush, not the way he died, but the way he lived. We offer our deepest condolences to the Bush Family and the fine men and women of the Placentia Police Department.