UPDATED: Dec. 15, 2015 3:37 p.m.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — It was an emotional sendoff Tuesday for Montgomery County police officer Noah Leotta, where high-ranking police officials called for Maryland’s weak DUI laws to be strengthened after the 24-year-old died last week after being struck be a suspected drunk driver.

Officer John Romack recalls an enthusiastic, blue-eyed intern with a “million dollar smile” who shadowed him a few years ago.

“He knew that he wanted to be the police and he totally changed,” Romack says.

The funeral for Leotta was held Tuesday morning at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, followed by burial at Judean Memorial Gardens in Olney.

The 3,000-seat church was overflowing with officers who came to pay their final respects.

Leotta died last Thursday, one week after being hit by an SUV while conducting a traffic stop as part of a drunken-driving task force.

The case is still under investigation and the driver has not yet been charged.

Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger has said the driver had been arrested twice before for driving under the influence, which has prompted him to call for stricter laws.

“We’ve already spoken with people in Annapolis,” Capt. Paul Starks says.

Leotta is the eighteenth Montgomery County police officer to be killed in the line of duty in the department’s history.

WNEW’s Chuck Carroll contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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