How Many Officers Will Die Before an Officer Retires? 4,122

After 28 years and 11 months of being a police officer, I am retiring. It’s a nice feeling to retire from law enforcement. I know I’ve made positive changes in my agency and for my profession, but all I can think about are the officers that didn’t get a chance to retire. In fact, I’m writing this article because 4 days ago, an officer in my state was murdered by someone that shouldn’t of even been on the street. That incident is what prompted me to look at how many heroes died while I was a police officer.

Nationally, over 4,122 officers died since I started in October 1988. But in my home state of California, 341 officers were killed. I knew some of them as friends or colleagues, while others I knew from fleeting encounters. I was saddened by all of them. Some died from accidents, but a lot of them were murdered while they were out protecting our communities. All of them never had a chance to retire and see their kids grow up into great adults.

Their deaths had a profound affect on my career. Some died because other officers made major mistakes that never should have happened, or they made mistakes themselves that cost them their lives. Some died and there was nothing anyone could do about it. As I trained officers around the world, I made sure that I mentioned these officers and how they can learn and try to make it to retirement.

I’ve listed the California officers that died during my career. There were just too many to list nationally. I want people to see how much we sacrifice to make it to the end of our careers. I also wanted to put some background info on the heroes that died. As you scroll through the names, I’ve written a little bit about some of the officers.

October 1988

Officer Robert T. Roulston Officer David L. Hofmeyer Deputy Roy A. Chester Sergeant Richard G. Romero
Inv. Michael David Davis Deputy Mark S. Tonkin Deputy James D. McSweeney Officer David Vasquez
Officer Manuel Gutierrez Jr. Officer Derrick C. Connor

Officer Robert Roulston

I was hired on October 2, 1988. Two weeks to the day later Officer Robert Roulston from the Anaheim Police Department was killed in the line of duty. OFC Roulston was a motor officer that was struck by another vehicle while he was riding his motor assisting with traffic control near the Anaheim Stadium. Although I started late in the year, 10 officers were killed before the year ended a few months later.


Officer Gordon A. Silva Officer Gene R. Simpson Deputy Theodore Beckmann Lieutenant John C. Helmick
Deputy Richard R. McHale Detective Norman R. Eckles Deputy Michael R. Egan Deputy Randy R. Lutz
Officer Hugo Olazar Deputy Rosemary Iris May Detective Dighton L. Little Deputy George R. Nash
Officer John J. Blessing Officer Kelly Key III



Officer Philip J. Stabile Sergeant Timothy D. White Officer Robert L. Shultis Commander Isiah Nelson III Officer James H. McKnight
Officer Tommy DeLaRosa Deputy Paul R. Bush Sergeant Thomas J. Fonte Officer Russell L. Kuster Officer James C. O’Connor


Officer Tina Kerbrat Deputy Michael Cole Officer Michael Gartrell Officer Gary Howe Officer Charles Champe
Richard Barry Zbinden Officer William R. Jack Officer Ronald Davis Officer John Grubensky Deputy Kenneth Perrigo

Officer John Grubensky

Grubensky, 32, died Oct. 20, 1991, trying to save five Oakland hills residents from the fire storm that swept through the area. Grubensky and those 5 people died in their efforts to find safety. This one hit home because I was sent to Oakland on mutual aid to help the Oakland Police Department. John’s funeral was the first law enforcement funeral I attended. Still a rookie, it made me feel my mortality. Today, the EOC in Alameda County is named after John. I have taught hundreds of officers in that building and I think about him every time I teach a class there.


Deputy Nelson Yamamato Reserve Officer Kolone Kolone Jr. Deputy Richard Hammack Officer John Hoglund Officer Fidel Aleman
Reserve Officer Ronald Hills Detective Edward Kislo Officer Raymond Messerly Officer David Schmid Officer Leonard Garcia
Officer David Haynes



Officer Joe Rios Officer Arthur Parga Officer Edward Reed Officer Kevin Burrell Officer James MacDonald
Officer Howard Dallies Officer John McVeigh Sergeant John Steel Deputy Kent Hintergardt Officer Larry Jaramillo
Detective James O’Brien Officer William Grijalva Deputy Darryn Robins Officer Martin Ganz

Officer Arthur Parga

OFC Parga was the first officer who I met that later died in the line of duty. Little did I know that I would know officers on a deeper level that were killed in the line of duty. I met OFC Parga while I was going through Drug Recognition Expert field certifications in his city. During field certifications, we would evaluate as many people as possible that were under the influence of drugs. That meant that we had to evaluate people that were under arrest. I remember OFC Parga coming into our training room and asking him if he could find someone under the influence of PCP.  OFC Parga left and came back a half hour later with a guy flying high on PCP. Parga was a hard worker and took time out to learn what we were doing to hone his own skills. He was a nice guy that I talked to several times during our short stay there. A month later OFC Parga was killed while serving a search warrant for CRACNET, the local drug task force.


Officer Clarence Dean Sergeant Vernon Vanderpool Captain Michael Tracy Officer Christy Hamilton Group Supervisor Arnold Garcia
Reserve Officer Ted Brassinga Officer William Lehn Officer Mguel Soto Officer Richard Maxwell Officer Charles Heim
Officer Michael Osornio Officer Jame Guelff Officer Thomas Worley


Officer Mark White Deputy Larry Griffith Deputy Frank Trejo Officer Robert Henry Officer Timothy Howe
Deputy George Davis Special Agent William Bolt Deputy Stephen Blair Deputy Jimmie Henry Detective Danny Valenzuela
Agent Louis Pompei Officer Keith Konopasek Deputy Antranik Geuvjehizian Officer Michael Clark Lieutenant Herbert Stovall
Deputy Russell Roberts Officer Bruce T. Hinman Officer Gabriel Perez-Negron Deputy Rodney Alan Foster Officer Artie Hubbard



Officer David Manning Officer James Jensen Officer Daniel Fraembs Detective terry Fincher Officer Don Burt
Deputy Peter Aguirre Officer Joey Little Youth Counselor Ineasi Baker Deputy Anthony Olson Officer Karl Simons
Officer Reuben Rios Officer Noreen Vargas Officer James Schultz Detective Charles Swanson Officer Mario Navidad


Deputy Michael Haugen Deputy James Lehmann Officer Van Johnson Deputy Pat Coyle Deputy Vrian Meilbeck
Officer Saul Martinez Deputy Randal Jennings Investigator Charles Lazzaretto Officer Daniel Muhlhausen Shayne Yourk
Deputy Jeffery Isaac Officer Paul Beridon Officer Mylene G. Zalar Officer Emily Morgenroth Deputy Michael Hoenig
Sergeant Steven Van Horn



Officer Claire N. Connelly Sergeant John A. Aguilar Officer Christopher D. Lydon Officer David J. Chetcuti Chief J. Leonard Speer
Officer Paul D. Korber Officer Britt T. Irvine Officer Rick B. Stovall Officer Vilho O. Ahola Officer James J. Rapozo
Officer Scott M. Greenly Officer Steven G. Gajda Deputy John P. Monego Officer Rick C. Cromwell Deputy  Sandra L. Larson
Officer III Brian Ernest Brown Senior Deputy Lisa D. Whitney Officer Filberto H. Cuesta Jr.

Deputy John Monego

This is the first line of duty death that I felt was close to home. John worked for the Alameda County SO and I first met him when he was a booking deputy at Santa Rita Jail. I became friends with John as well as three other deputies. When I was a younger officer, I was at the jail almost every night and talked to John all the time. John later went to LAPD and worked in some of the toughest neighborhoods, including working in Newton Division. I ran into him again in December 1998 at the jail after he decided to come back to ACSO. We talked for a second and I welcomed John back to NorCal. John said he was tied up with an arrest that was causing some problems and he promised we would catch up when we both had time. John was shot execution style two days later. Because of John’s death, I don’t let people walk away that I haven’t seen in a while. I never know if I will see them again. John had a son that was the same age as my young son and now those two are the best of friends. His son has grown up to be a great American and someone that John would be proud of.



Deputy Allen Thomas Sharra Officer Desmond J. Casey Deputy Eric A. Thach Officer Daniel C. Kelley
Deputy Bradley Jay Riches Officer William C. Bean Jr. Officer James Lee Williams


Officer Sean A. Nava Officer Gerald Silvestri Officer Robert J. Mata Officer David D. Irwin Deputy Steven E. Parsons
Officer Daryle W. Black Officer Jeffrey L. Azuar Officer Louis Villalobos Officer Russell M. Miller, Sr. Officer James Francis Dougherty
Inspector Kirk Bradley Brookbush


Officer William Wilkins Officer George A. Rose Officer Jeffrey M. Fontana Deputy Hagop “Jake” Kuredjian
Deputy Erik J. Telen Officer Richard E. Perkins Officer Stephen M. Linen Jr. Lieutenant Leonard B. Estes
Deputy William R. “Bill” Hunter Sergeant Gary R. Wagers Deputy Brandan G. Hinkle Detective Doug Jacobs III



Deputy David Powell Officer Donald R. Johnston Officer David F. Mobilio Sergeant Matthew R. Davis Deputy David W. March
Officer Jon C. Cook Officer John Pedro Deputy Dennis E. Phelps Officer Jesse Kenneth Paderez


Officer Gerald K. Griffin, Jr. Inspector Raymond J. Giacomelli Deputy Brent C. Jenkins Corporal Edward R. Davenport Officer Paul H. Pino
Officer Dean E. Beattie Officer Matthew Pavelka Officer Robert J. Coulter Corporal Tyler Matthew Pinchot Officer Shannon L. Distel
Deputy Stephen D. Sorensen Inspector Brian D. Olcomendy Officer Terry W. Bennett Detective Abiel Barron Officer John F. Small
Officer Tony W. Zeppetella Deputy Joshua C. Lancaster Deputy Bruce K. Lee


Officer William L. Seuis Deputy Michael R. Arruda Officer James M. Goodman Deputy David P. Grant Captain Michael L. Sparkes
Officer Thomas J. Steiner Officer Stephan G. Gray Officer Isaac A. Espinoza Officer Ricardo Lizarraga Officer Steven L. Phillips
Deputy Daniel Lee Archuleta Deputy Ronald W. Ives Reserve Deputy John P. Sandlin

Officer William L. Seuis

I knew Officer Seuis as “Willy”. We worked together before we became cops. He was a little older than me and got hired by the Oakland PD. I was envious when he was hired and couldn’t wait to join him as a cop. We ran into each other a few years after I became a cop. It was nice to see that we both achieved our dream. That’s all we talked about when we were at work when we were kids. He died when he was assigned as a motor officer and was run over by a big rig. That big rig driver fled the scene and was apprehended later by the CHP.


Lieutenant Michael Walker Officer Erick S. Manny Officer Andrew T. Stevens Deputy Daniel Lobo, Jr Officer Matthew Redding
Deputy Kevin E. Elium Officer Nels “Dan” Niemi Deputy Joseph Kievernagel Deputy Kevin P. Blount Deputy Jerry Ortiz
Deputy Greg Gariepy Officer Tommy E. Scott Officer Larry Lasater Deputy James P. Tutino Officer Manuel A. Gonzalez
Sergeant Howard Stevenson Special Agent Supervisor William Garvey


Officer Earl H. Scott Officer Richard May Officer Bryan Tuvera Officer Dan Bessant Deputy Jeffrey Mitchell
Officer Landon Dorris Officer Brent Clearman Officer Nick Birco Sergeant Scott A. Hanson Deputy Maria C. Rosa
Deputy William “Joe” Hudnall Deputy Pierre W. Bain Officer  Gregory “John” Bailey


Detective Vu Nguyen Detective Kent Haws Officer John P. Miller Officer Sergio Carrera Jr. Officer Douglas Scott Russell
Officer Robert F. Dickey Deputy Raul V. Gama Special Agent Patrick T. Dillon Officer Robert W. Winget Deputy Manuel Villegas

Officer John Miller

Officer Miller was a CHP officer that died in my city. CHP and my agency got a report of a drunk driver that was in and out of both of our jurisdictions. While he was looking for the drunk driver, John crashed into a tree while trying to catch up to the suspect. John’s death profoundly affected the officers that I worked with that went to the scene.



Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz Deputy James E. Throne Special Agent Aaron G. Garcia Officer Randal Simmons Officer Joseph Sanders
Deputy Lawrence A. Canfield Deputy Randy Hamson Officer Bradley A. Moody Sergeant Paul Starzyk Deputy Juan A. Escalante



Sergeant Steve May Officer  John Hege Sergeant Daniel Sakai
Sergeant Ervin Romans Sergeant Mark Dunakin Sergeant Greg Hernandez

March 21, 2009 will be remembered as one of the darkest days for law enforcement in the city of Oakland and throughout the state of California. OPD Motor Sergeant Mark Dunakin stopped Lovelle Mixon on MacArthur Blvd. OFC Hege, a fellow motor, came over to cover Dunakin. During the stop, Mixon shot and killed Hege and Dunakin. During the subsequent search for Mixon, SWAT Sergeants Romans and Sakai were killed. Officers on scene returned fire and killed Mixon. Four officers killed in one day, at the time, was unheard of. Dunakin grew up in the city where I grew up and we have similar friends. Sakai and Romans were both SWAT officers that I had worked with over the years both on SWAT and working street crimes. I found out that they had been killed while watching the news. My wife and I were in Monterey celebrating my 40th birthday. There wasn’t much to celebrate after that.



Officer Ryan Bonaminio Officer Christopher Wilson Officer Brett Oswald Officer Justin McGrory Officer Phillip Ortiz
Officer Tom Coleman Officer Dan Benavides Officer Javier Bejar Deputy Ken Collier Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier
Sergeant Ira G. Essoe, Jr. Deputy Charlene M. Rottler



Officer Ryan Stringer Officer Andrew Garton Officer Jermaine Anthony Gibson
Officer Thomas Adams Officer Anthony A. Giniewicz Officer James Capoot
Officer Daniel C. Clark Officer Jeremy Henwood Officer Daniel R. Ackerman


Officer Kenyon M. Youngstrom Deputy Robert Paris



Deputy Jeremy Meyst Officer Jon Coutchie Officer Gilbert Cortez Detective Elizabeth Butler
Sergeant Loran “Butch” Baker Detective Jeremiah MacKay Officer Michael Crain Officer Kevin Tonn



Officer Jordan Corder Officer Scott M. Hewell Officer Roberto Sanchez Officer Christopher Cortijo
Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino Officer Nicholas C. Lee Officer Brian Law Officer Juan Gonzalez
Sergeant Tom Smith, Jr. Officer Shaun Diamond Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko Deputy Danny Oliver
Detective Michael D. Davis, Jr


Officer Paul M. Carlisle Officer Bryce E. Hanes Sergeant Scott Paul Lunger
Officer David Joseph Nelson Officer Michael J. Johnson

Sergeant Scott Paul Lunger

Scott was a Sergeant with the Hayward Police Department and lived in the same city as me. Scott was killed by a POS that gunned him down during a traffic stop. He coached a high school softball team and definitely left his mark on our community. I remember Scott as a SWAT team member and ran across him at a few SWAT functions. I have a lot of friends at Hayward PD and they are doing a great job at keeping his memory alive.


Deputy Dennis Wallace Sergeant Alfonso Lopez Deputy Jack Hopkins Officer Jose Gilbert “Gil” Vega Officer Lesley Zerebny
Sergeant Steve Owen Police Officer Jonathan M. De Guzman Officer Michael J. Katherman Officer Nathan Taylor Deputy Scott Ballantyne


Deputy Sheriff Robert Rumfelt Deputy Jason Garner Officer Lucas F. Chellew
Officer Keith Boyer Deputy Sheriff Robert “Bob” French

Deputy Sheriff Robert “Bob” French

Bob was killed on August 30 of this year. Just 4 days before I retired, which prompted me to write this article. I’m definitely happy that I retired, but I realize how lucky I am to make it to retirement. Bob was killed by a person that shouldn’t have been on the street. The suspect that killed him was released due to a liberal law in California called “AB109”. It’s been just a few days since Bob’s death, but my Facebook feed is filled with friends that knew Bob and are posting their grief online. While talking to a recent retiree from my agency, he reminded me that the suspect that shot Bob was dealt with by my agency. So, why was this person released back into the community so he can go on and take the life of a hero? He was recently released by a federal judge, even though he was on “supervised release” under AB109. He’s not the only threat out there to the public. The AB109 “supervised release” program is filled with dangerous people. Bob should not be dead. Bob should be able to retire just like I did. But the suspect and the state of California’s failed policies robbed Bob of the chance to retire.



Author: Keith Graves

Keith is a retired Police Sergeant and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for 29 years. Keith was named as California’s Narcotics Officer of the Year and is a prior winner of MADD’s California Hero Award. He has years of experience as a Narcotics Detective and a Narcotics Unit Supervisor and is a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor (IACP #3292). Keith teaches both the DRE course and the Drug Abuse Recognition Course and has taught at the Police Academy. He has developed several drug courses for the California Narcotics Officers Association, California POST and California Colleges and currently consults POST on drug investigation procedures. Keith has held other assignments besides narcotics including Training Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, COPPS Officer, Traffic Officer, and 20 years as a SWAT Team member and Sniper Team Leader. Keith has taught thousands of officers and businesses around the world about drug use, drug trends, compliance training and drug investigations. He is recognized as an international drug expert and has testified as an expert in court proceedings on drug cases, homicide cases and rape prosecutions. Keith earned a BA in Business Management from Saint Mary’s College of California and a MA in Criminal Justice. Keith is the Founder and President of Graves & Associates, a company dedicated to providing drug training to law enforcement and private industry.

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