ABOVE PHOTO: Deputy Sheriff Captain Roy Herbert is the last officer to be funeralized this week. His coffin is draped in the American Flag during services at the Deliverance Evengelistic Church. Lieutenant Vernon Muse and Lieutenant Monte Guess, members of the Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard, conducted the flag ceremony.
It has come to be known as the “saddest two days in the history of the sheriff’s department” after the deaths of Deputy Sheriff Captain Michael Saia, Deputy Sheriff Captain Roy Herbert and Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Kevin Butler, who all died within 48 hours of each other between Monday, May 5th, and Tuesday, May 6th.
Though all three died of natural causes, their passing left the office in shock and grief.
“My heartfelt condolences to both the biological family, and to my work family who are also grieving over the loss of three of our own,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams, who also made available grief counseling for all staff.
Captain Saia, 59, served 36 years with the City of Philadelphia—35 of which was spent at the sheriff’s office. At the time of his death he was commander at the Family Court Division at 34 South 11th Street.
“Captain Saia was a big Doo-Wop fan,” said his good friend Deputy Sheriff Captain Peter Lavini. “In fact, his favorite song was ‘The Wanderer’, by Dion. Whenever he heard that, he went totally crazy”, laughed Captain Lavini.
Captain Saia, who also ran a catering business called “Mary’s Catering,” is survived by his wife and two children.
Lieutenant Herbert, 54, worked for the City of Philadelphia for over 30 years as a correctional officer and deputy sheriff.
Nicknamed “The Rainman”, he rose through the ranks and was excited about taking the upcoming examination for captain.
“Roy was the kind of guy who took his work and his career very seriously,” said his friend Deputy Sheriff Inspector Paris Washington. “He was a good friend and a good officer”.
Lieutenant Herbert was also active in the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Pennsylvania and was known for his exceptional “spit and shine” style of dress of gleaming shoes and crisp, ironed shirt and pants.
Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Butler was known for his gregarious, fun-loving nature and was in the hospital recovering from a stroke when he passed on Tuesday, May 6th.
“I was on my way to visit him that same day”, said Sheriff Williams. “By the time we got there, he was gone”.
“All three of these men will be missed greatly,” he continued. “Their personal and professional contributions to the sheriff’s office will be talked about for years, which is a common thing for legends”.