Looking out at a sea of law enforcement officials attending their second Harford County Sheriff's Office funeral in a week, Sheriff Jesse Bane wondered Wednesday about the toll their line of work takes on them and their loved ones.
"One only had to follow [Deputy Sgt. Ian Loughran] to know why this profession is so hazardous to our health, why some of us suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, why we have high suicide and divorce rates, why we die untimely deaths because our bodies have difficulty handling the stress," the sheriff told the mourners gathered inside Mountain Christian Church's New Life Center in Joppa for Sgt. Loughran's service.
Bane noted that although Sgt. Loughran, Badge 463, did not die in a gun battle or running into a burning building, he was clearly affected by the pressures of his job.
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Mountain Christian Church, 1824 Mountain Rd, Joppa, MD 21085, USA
"There was not this remarkable drama in Ian's death, but there was purpose," Bane said. "It was those high-speed pursuits, the damaged children of abuse, the victims of domestic violence, the ugly side of Harford County's mean streets that took his life."
Hundreds of officers, friends and relatives filled the worship center to honor Sgt. Loughran in an eerie reprisal of the elaborate police funeral rites held just a week earlier for Cpl. Charles Licato, as well as those held for Aberdeen Police OFC Charles Armetta in Bradshaw last Friday.
Sgt. Loughran, 43, suffered a heart attack at his Pylesville home Sept. 13. According to the sheriff's office, he had unknowingly begun to suffer the symptoms of a heart attack the previous day during the funeral services for Cpl. Licato, who died Sept. 6 in a car accident while on his way home from his shift.
Sgt. Loughran had been with the sheriff's office for 16 years.
During Wednesday's service, those closest to Sgt. Loughran remembered him as a funny, intelligent man who loved camping, Shakespeare, his family and his work with the sheriff's office.
"Ian Adam Loughran was one of the finest men to wear the star," Bane said about Sgt. Loughran's record of service.
Deputy Lt. Hugh John Dougherty began his speech by cleaning off the pulpit with disinfecting wipes and then checking the weather on his phone, two of Sgt. Loughran's favorite activities at his office, Dougherty said.
"Every day, when he took over as duty officer, the first thing he would do was wipe down the phone, the desk, everything, with Lysol," Dougherty recalled with a grin.
But it was his commitment to working late that earned Sgt. Loughran his nickname on the force, "Biscuit."
"He got the nickname because he was always looking for overtime, or 'gravy,'" Dougherty explained. "He sopped up the gravy like a biscuit."
Sgt. Loughran also always carried a badge and a whistle because those were the two items children associated with a police officer, and he wanted to keep up that image, Dougherty said.
"He truly, genuinely cared about people," Dougherty said. "Ian was love. Ian is love."
Lauretta Kahn, Sgt. Loughran's sister, bid him farewell with a verse from "Hamlet," as they both loved Shakespeare: "Good night sweet prince / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"
"I learned so much about Ian this week that I didn't know before," Kahn told the audience, adding that when she looked out at the "sea of blue," she knew why he was so proud of his work.
"Ian was kind of a funny guy. He could insult you and you wouldn't know it," Sean Loughran said.
But he also said Sgt. Loughran enjoyed every aspect of his job, from working with the county liquor board to serving as a school resource officer at two county high schools.
"He loved every part of it," his brother said.
Sgt. Loughran left behind his wife of seven years, Tonya Phillips Loughran, and a 2-year-old son, Colin.
His brother-in-law, Jonathan Kahn, played "Meditation from Thais" and "Panis Angelicus" on the violin.
Herb Townsend, pastor of Grandview Christian Church, and the Rev. Monsignor J. Patrick Keleher also spoke at the ceremony, while Ethan Magness, Mountain Christian's spiritual formation pastor, made opening remarks.
Following the service, a long funeral procession traveled from the church along Route 152 to Highview Memorial Gardens in Fallston, where Sgt. Loughran was laid to rest.