At least seven Orange County law enforcement agencies are sending officers to funerals in Dallas this week for the five cops shot dead by a man police say wanted to kill as many men and women in uniform as possible at a Black Lives Matter protest July 7.
The GGPD, whose five officers killed in the line of duty represent the largest loss of any other municipal PD in Orange County, is sending at least four officers — and as many as eight — to attend the funeral Saturday, July 16 of Officer Patricio E. Zamarippa.
Meanwhile, four Tustin PD officers are on their way to Dallas to attend the funeral of Senior Cpl. Lorne B. Ahrens on Wednesday, July 13.
Detective Nguyen, a member of Tustin PD’s Honor Guard, said when they arrived in Dallas, they were approached by a citizen who offered condolences.
“He thanked us for our service and wanted us to know we had his love and support. We were in plain clothes but he knew why we were here in Texas,” Nguyen wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday night. “It was very nice to hear this from a complete stranger.”
Westminster police also are sending four members of their Honor Guard to pay respects to the fallen officers, and the Buena Park, Costa Mesa and Irvine PDs, along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, also confirmed they will send representatives.
“The Garden Grove Police Department is deeply saddened by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer and the four Dallas PD officers that were fatally shot in Dallas,” the GGPD said in a news release.
“There is a strong bond in law enforcement with our brothers and sisters in blue,” the statement continued. “We are mourning the loss of our law enforcement family who gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the community they served.”
GGPD Cpl. Brian Dalton, president of the Garden Grove Police Association, said the association is paying for airline tickets, hotel rooms and other transportation for the officers who get selected to attend Saturday’s funeral. The officers are going on their days off so essentially they are volunteering their time to go.
Nearly 30 GGPD officers expressed interest in going to Dallas, so names will be drawn out of a hat Tuesday night to keep things fair, Dalton said. The officers will fly out Friday and probably return Sunday, Dalton said.
“I was surprised at the number of officers who expressed interest, but then again, I’m not surprised,” Dalton said. “We’re a brotherhood. A lot of the officers who want to go came to the Garden Grove PD from other agencies, and many have lost co-workers, so (the tragedy in Dallas) hits home with a lot of our guys.”
Added Dalton: “The Garden Grove PD wants to represent (in Dallas). Our agency is too familiar with the significance and devastation that comes with officers killed in the line of duty.
“And the way these officers in Dallas lost their lives is, for lack of a better word, commendable. They walked straight into danger, and they were shielding the very people who were protesting them.”
Here are the GGPD officers going to Dallas:
Sgt. Rich Burillo
Cpl. Lino Santana
Master Officer Rocky Rubalcaba
Officer Vanessa Broduer
Officer Claudia Alarcon
Officer John Yergler
Officer Jeremy Morse
Officer Austin Laverty
To read about the GGPD’s five fallen officers, click here