Friends, family and colleagues of Louisville Metro Police officer Zachary Cottongim filled Southeast Christian Church Wednesday for his funeral.
Photos of Cottongim flashed on a large screen as some of his favorite songs played in the background.
Cottongim passed away late Saturday night after being struck by a vehicle while investigating an abandoned car.
“Zach embodied all that we covet,” LMPD police chief Erika Shields said. “He was young, healthy, good-looking, successful and with an incredible support system of family and friends.”
She said Cottongim’s career was limitless.
“In large part, because his approach to policing, like life, was positive, forward-thinking,” Shield said. “And those are the cops who excel.”
Shields went on to speak directly to the officers present about upholding Cottongim’s legacy.
“To the police here, Zach’s legacy will always be that of a cop,” Shields said. “And we have an obligation to keep the profession one of integrity and common decency. it is the least we can do for Zach.”
While none of Cottongim’s surviving family members spoke, long-time family friend and former police sergeant Dave Burns shared memories going back to Cottongim’s childhood.
Burns shared a story from Cottongim’s time on the force. He said that Cottongim encountered many people struggling with drug addiction and bought one man a bus ticket home after he became stranded in Louisville.
“Zach doesn’t brag about what he does. He’s humble,” Burns said. “But he also helped pay for this stranger’s rehab.”
Burns said the story shows the type of person he was.
“Many adjectives were used to describe Zach, honor, courage, selfless, dedicated, solid and a slew of others,” Burns said.
Following the funeral services, Cottongim was taken to Cave Hill Cemetery where he was buried.