On Friday night, the Inland Empire Emerald Society hosted a memorial at Shamrocks Pub and Grill in Corona for people to pay their respects to Officer Bryce Hanes of the San Bernardino Police Department.
Officer Hanes was killed when his police cruiser was struck by a suspected drunk driver who ran a red light.
Officer Hanes was on his way back from dropping off a prisoner at 2 a.m. when the motorist killed him.
The memorial served as a toast to Officer Hanes and a way for his loved ones, comrades, coworkers and citizens to honor him.
Bryce was a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints and, keeping with the tenants of his faith, he did not drink alcohol. In respect to his beliefs, everyone in attendance raised his favorite drink, Dr. Pepper.
Bryce’s brother, Scott, led the standing-room-only crowd in the toast. Scott is a retired detective from the San Bernardino PD. He shared how Bryce came by the nickname “Bearpaw.” He explained, “If you ever looked at his hands he didn’t really have fingers.”
Members of the Emerald Society bagpipers played “Amazing Grace” as everyone stood in silent tribute. This tradition has a history going back 150 years in the police and fire services.
Tragedy often brings police officers together like no other event can. Every police officer who has ever put on a uniform, every dispatcher who has ever sent an officer on a call, and everyone who knows and loves a police officer understands that on any given day, it could be your last.
In attendance were members of the law enforcement community, family and community members.
San Bernardino Police Det. Frank Alvarez and his wife, Dena, showed up to pay their respects.
Dena is a retired dispatcher for the department. Their son also was with them. Despite his parents’ reticence, he is considering a career in law enforcement.
The roots of law enforcement traditionally run deep in families.
Members of the “Untouchables” motorcycle club also were at the memorial. Its membership is comprised of current and retired law enforcement officers. Their club slogan is, “We ride for our brothers that can’t.”
Deputy Victor Ruiz drove all the way from Victorville to attend the event.
“Unless you’re part of law enforcement, or have a family member in the profession, it’s hard to understand the deep bond we all share,” Ruiz said.
According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, in the last 10 years 414 police officers have been killed in traffic collisions. This doesn’t even take into account the number of officers who have been injured.
You put enough miles in a police car and chase enough bad guys, and inevitably you will find yourself in harm’s way.
Ken Jamieson, president of the Inland Empire Emerald Society, said the goal of the organization is to provide immediate support to families of officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
Holding true to that goal, within 72 hours the organization handed over a check to the Hanes family for $5,000 to help them through this very difficult time.
Public services for Officer Bryce Hanes will be held:
When: 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12
Where: National Orange Show, 689 S. E St., San Bernardino. The memorial service will be followed by a procession to the gravesite at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, 1540 Alessandro Rd., Redlands.
Joe is a retired Anaheim Police Department captain. You can reach him at email@example.com.