CLEVELAND (WJW)– As those living and working in the city of Cleveland prepare to say their final goodbyes to Det. James Skernivitz, some residents wanted to do something to make sure his badge number continues to protect his fellow law enforcement officers.
So Dan Tome, along with one of Skernivitz’s former partners, decided to create a face mask with the 53-year-old detective’s badge number printed on the front.
“I got a call Sunday from one of his former partners saying they were looking for a way to honor him and protect everyone who was going to show up,” Tome said.
“Because of COVID-19, everyone has to be wearing a face mask at the funeral so we thought this would be a perfect way and he would still be protecting everyone.”
Tome said city officials are anticipating thousands of officers attending from all over the country.
“We want to make about 3,000 so we knew we needed donations,” Tome said. “My son runs a foundation called the D Team and I hit up a few people that support the D Team. Our original goal was 500, we had 250 in five minutes.”
The funeral for the officer will be held Friday.
The detective was killed Thursday when his car was shot multiple times at West 65th Street and Storer Avenue. One day before his death, he was sworn in as part of the violent crime task force to work as part of Operation Legend.
“This is just one way we can show our respect, for our hero,” Tome said. “A tribute to a great man, a great father, a great husband and a great officer.”
One of Detective Skernivitz’s former partners also donated money to cover 1,600 masks to help make sure every Cleveland police officer who attends the funeral will get one.