Dawn Foley was only 3 when her grandfather, Garden Grove Police Officer Andy Reese, died in the line of duty on May 30, 1970.
Reese was directing traffic during the annual Strawberry Festival when an impatient driver sped past slower-moving cars and struck and killed the officer.
Foley has few memories of her grandfather but has gotten to know him better through stories shared by those who knew him and told during GGPD’s annual “Call to Duty Memorial” ceremony.
The ceremony, which honors the department’s five officers who died in the line of duty, was held for the 29th time May 19.
“They’ve had speakers in the past that knew my grandfather and I really enjoy it when the officers talk about the fallen officers because they knew him and it gives me an insight as to who he was,” said Foley, who lives in Ontario. “It’s a very endearing time. It’s worth it to come all this way.”
Family members of each fallen officer attended the event, which was staged in front of the department’s Call to Duty Memorial – a life-size bronze statue of an officer on one knee, bowing his head and holding a folded U.S. flag – attended by hundreds of officers from police agencies throughout Southern California.
The polished service featured a riderless horse to symbolize the fallen officers, bagpipers, performances by the Bolsa Grande High School Chorus, a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”
Families of the fallen officers were presented with bouquets of flowers and plaques.
The guest speaker was Dr. Michael Neeki, a physician who serves as director of tactical medicine at Arrowhead Regional Medicine.
Neeki also was among the first responders who treated victims at the Inland Valley Regional Center after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino on Dec. 2.
The threat of international and domestic terrorism today makes policing more dangerous than ever, Neeki said.
“Unfortunately, we realize that it’s a dangerous world and there is no change in site,” Neeki said. “In view of these realities, it is my belief that special people are called to law enforcement … Therefore, we need to reflect on our local heroes who have so fervently chosen the profession that serves and protects, even if it means placing their own lives on the line on a daily basis.”
Garden Grove Police Chief Todd Elgin noted that the city has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other municipal agency in the county.
“These five men gave their lives so that their fellow citizens could be safer, their neighborhoods more secure, and their communities stronger,” Elgin said.
The chief also shared some troubling statistics:
In 2015, 128 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the U.S. In 2016, 36 have been killed so far. Of those, 18 have been killed by gunfire.
“Attacks on law enforcement are happening with more frequency and with greater violence,” the chief said. “We face criminals who are better armed, and who are more violent and demonstrate a disdain for authority and disregard for human life.”
Forging bonds with the community is more important than ever for law enforcement, Elgin said, adding that today’s officers must be “masters of the social encounter.”
The chief closed the ceremony by lauding the fallen officers as the “true heroes of the department.”
“We must do everything in our power to never add another name to this memorial wall and honor the legacy of these men behind me,” the chief said.
GGPD’s Fallen Five:
Sgt. Myron Trapp
On Oct. 6, 1959, Trapp was responding to a call involving a man who was angry at noise made by a road crew working on the street in front of his house. Trapp was trying to talk the man out of the house when a fellow officer walked toward the front door. The man fired the rifle through the door. The shot missed the first officer and struck Trapp, killing him
Officer Andy Reese
On May 30, 1970, Reese, a reserve officer, was directing traffic during the Strawberry Festival when an impatient driver sped past slow-moving traffic and struck Reese, killing him.
Officer Donald Reed
Reed and three fellow officers entered a bar to serve an arrest warrant on a man on June 7, 1980. Reed was escorting the man out the back door when the man drew and fired a semi-automatic handgun, striking Reed in the chest and killing him.
Officer Michael Rainford
Rainford was on patrol Nov 7, 1980 when he was conducting a routine traffic stop on a 22 Freeway onramp when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver.
Master Officer Howard Dallies Jr.
On March 9, 1993, Dallies pulled over a motorcycle on Aldgate Street. As Dallies walked towards the motorcycle, the driver fired six shots at the officer, hitting him four times. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died from the wounds.