He had a signature line.
“See you, kid.”
So it was fitting that the Garden Grove PD’s Juvenile Justice Center got a new name last week to honor the late police officer who worked tirelessly — even years after retirement — to better the lives of Garden Grove youth.
Dozens of relatives, former colleagues, community leaders, non-profit executives and admirers of Bruce Beauchamp gathered Oct. 29 for the dedication and unveiling of a new mounted plaque on the front of the JJC, located next to PD headquarters on Acacia Parkway.
The newly christened Bruce Beauchamp Juvenile Justice Center pays homage to an iconic Garden Grove cop whose 30-year career with the agency began in 1957, two months after the PD was formed.
Beauchamp, who died at 78 on July 29, 2014 after an infection attacked his heart, was just as active in retirement as he was when he was a full-time officer.
He primarily was known for his involvement with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove, the Garden Grove Lions Club, the Garden Grove Elks Lodge and the Garden Grove Historical Society.
Sgt. John Reynolds, emcee of the ceremony, called Beauchamp a good friend and a very committed policeman and servant of Garden Grove.
The Juvenile Justice Center was built in 1998 and was the brainchild of then-Lt. Kevin Raney, who went on to become chief.
Raney came up with the idea of naming the building after Beauchamp and announced plans to do so at his memorial service Aug. 6, 2014 at Kiwanis Land in Garden Grove.
The Juvenile Justice Center houses the Youth Outreach Program, a collaboration between the City of Garden Grove and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove. To date, the center has served more than 8,000 at-risk youth and their families through counseling, intervention programs and educational classes.
Addressing the crowd, which included some of Beauchamp’s grandchildren — he and his wife, Lollie Beauchamp, between them have five children and eight grandchildren — Garden Grove Police Chief Todd Elgin called Beauchamp a “tireless volunteer” who especially loved working with youth.
“He wanted to help everyone, but especially youth,” Elgin said. “They needed direction and guidance, and Bruce wanted to be part of that in whatever capacity he could.”
Even though he didn’t work with him, Elgin recalled Beauchamp’s warm and friendly presence around the PD after he retired in 1987.
“It’s rare you’ll find a man built like Bruce Beauchamp,” Elgin said. “It’s important that we and others in our community celebrate people like Bruce.”
Raney, who retired as police chief in January, worked with Beauchamp as a cop. He had a talk with Beauchamp shortly before he died and said he admired Beauchamp’s determination to overcome his health issue.
“But God had other plans, and decided that his work on this Earth was done,” said Raney, who as a 19-year-old cadet had Beauchamp as his sergeant.
Pat Halberstadt, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove, spoke about Beauchamp’s devotion to the community of Garden Grove.
“Bruce was living proof how fine a person can be,” Halberstadt said. “He was a great leader in the Garden Grove Police Department and a champion for the kids in our community.”
Halberstadt praised his role in helping the Juvenile Justice Center become a reality.
“Bruce had a rare perspective of understanding the needs of youth and teens from his interactions as a police officer as well as how youth development programs could prevent delinquency and crisis for kids by giving them a sense of responsibility and purpose,” she said.
Lollie Beauchamp, who was married to Bruce for 33 years, called the monument an “awesome award for an awesome man,” but stressed that the honor also belongs to the various organizations in Garden Grove that help youth.
“All of your non-profits are so important,” Beauchamp said, “and this is what Bruce would express: that you are all awesome.”
Raney, Elgin and Lollie Beauchamp then unveiled the 14-by-20-inch bronze plaque with a likeness of Bruce Beauchamp wearing his vintage 1957 GGPD uniform.
“Three rookies who were assigned to him went on to become chiefs of police,” Lollie Beauchamp noted after the ceremony.
“And he turned the lives around of a lot of troubled youth. Bruce was always very proud of that.”