By Jim Tortolano
They were heroes who gave their lives in the performance of their duties, but the five Garden Grove police officers that were killed while serving were more than that.
They were also yodelers, magicians, car buffs, drummers, dads, husbands, brothers and role models. Those sides of the “Fallen Five” were celebrated Thursday at the 30th annual “Call to Duty” Memorial held in front of the Garden Grove Police Department headquarters.
In a short film created by city videographers, the five slain officers were remembered in a host of down-to-earth ways that celebrated their humanity as well as their devotion to duty.
The GGPD officers memorialized were:
- Sgt. Myron Trapp, fatally shot in 1959.
- Reserve Officer Andy Reese, fatally struck by a careless motorist in 1970.
- Officer Donald Reed, fatally shot in 1980.
- Officer Michael Rainford, killed when struck by a drunk driver in 1980.
- Master Officer Howard Dallies, Jr., fatally shot in 1993.
In addition to the video, the ceremonies included the skirling of bagpipes, a tolling of a bell as the names of the dead were recited, music and addresses by GGPD Chief Todd Elgin, Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper and David Kling, father of a Palm Springs police officer slain in 2016.
In his remarks, Elgin took to task what he believes are the influences behind the recent spikes in the crime rate.
“These five officers gave their lives so that Garden Grove citizens could be safer, their neighborhoods more secure and their communities stronger,” he said.
“Violent confrontations have become all too familiar …” he said, reciting a list of incidents in which police were killed or injured. “These tragedies are all symptoms of a new and troubling era for law enforcement. In California, the profession of policing is under attack and continues to become more complex and blurred as to the expectations of police.
“Budget-cutting measures and prison re-alignment and recent voter-approved measures are responsible for putting more violent and career criminals back on the street, and increasing the homeless and mentally ill populations,” he said.
He urged the public to support rolling back initiatives such as Proposition 47, which de-criminalized certain drug-related offenses.
Despite those challenges, Elgin said “We stand as guardians of our community,” calling for greater cooperation between the public and police.
A law enforcement officer “is not a machine, like many people think,” he added. “The reality is that we are no different than anybody here today.” Including some in the audience who might also be car buffs, drummers and maybe even yodelers.
Categories: Garden Grove