Memorial Run evokes ‘awesome but also heartbreaking’ memories


A hot August morning wasn’t enough to keep family, friends, colleagues and admirers of the late Fullerton Police Officer Tommy De La Rosa from attending the OC Sheriff Academy’s Memorial Run in his honor on Wednesday.

The Academy’s class No. 211 chose to honor De La Rosa, which is a tradition for graduating classes to do. The class of about 50 cadets will graduate Thursday.

Also attending the run and honoring De La Rosa was his former partner Fullerton Chief Dan Hughes and multiple officers from Fullerton and several other police departments as well as sheriff deputies and retirees.

Prior to the run, which took place at the OC Sheriff Training Academy in Tustin, the academy class held a ceremony to honor De La Rosa. A plaque honoring De La Rosa hangs on the memorial wall nearby.

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De La Rosa was posing undercover as a drug dealer when he was ambushed and killed on June 21, 1990. He was only the second Fullerton police officer to be killed in the line of duty.

Also in attendance was Craig Brower, a retired Fullerton police lieutenant who was another of De La Rosa’s partners on the force. Brower said he teaches a class called Red Flags, which details the hazards of undercover operations. The whole class, he said, is created in De La Rosa’s honor in the hopes that tragedies like his can be avoided in the future.

“This is very emotional for me,” Brower said of the memorial run. “To see Tommy’s family up there was awesome but it’s also heartbreaking.”

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