Whittier PD turns slain officer’s locker into a permanent memorial


Three button-down, navy-blue shirts, the Whittier Police patch on the left shoulder, hang neatly in the locker room.

A set of keys to a patrol car hang on a hook.

A citation book and a gun belt lay on a shelf and a pair of shiny black leather boots, the kind worn by motor officers, are positioned on the floor of the locker, pointing outward.

The locker is encased by a sheet of glass.

“OFFICER KEITH BOYER #249” is etched in the glass, above an 8 by 10 framed photo of Boyer.

The locker of Whittier PD Officer Keith Boyer has been turned into a memorial – with his uniforms and other belongings. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“End of Watch, February 20, 2017,” is etched in the glass just below the photo.

On that day, Boyer, a 53-year old father of two sons and a daughter, a grandfather of two girls and a Whittier police officer for 27 years, was shot and killed in the line of duty.

The department memorialized Boyer’s locker, which looks pretty much as it did on Feb. 20, as a tribute to the third fallen officer in Whittier PD’s history.

Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper with a photo of Officer Keith Boyer a he keeps in his office. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“It’s to remember Keith and the sacrifice that he made every day for 27 years up until his death,”  said Whittier PD Chief Jeff Piper. “To put that piece of glass up and to have that symbolic remembrance of him there, where nobody will ever use that locker again, is significant.”

Boyer’s memorialized locker also serves as a reminder to WPD officers, who see it every day before and after their shifts, the chief said.

Whittier PD Officer Keith Boyer’s locker contains various uniforms, including his uniform from the Boy Scouts. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“Unfortunately, there are people out there that want to hurt people for simply wearing the uniform and the badge and what it represents,” Piper said.

The retired locker is among the ways the police department is honoring Boyer.

His passion was playing the drums.

“He was in a few bands,” said his stepfather, Don Clark. “I think that is what he mostly liked to do when he wasn’t working.”

Don Clark talks about his late stepson Whittier PD Officer Keith Boyer. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

A base drum is affixed on the wall outside the briefing room at police stations in Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, where Whittier PD also provides public safety services.

The drumhead reads: “OFFICER KEITH BOYER, IN VALOR THERE IS HOPE.” A Whittier PD badge and Boyer’s No. 249 are in the middle.

“When you go out into service, you hit that drum in honor of Keith and when you come back in, too,” Piper said.

Whittier PD Officer Keith Boyer’s photo is displayed next to the two other Whittier PD officers who made “the ultimate sacrifice;” Mike Lane, 1979, left, and John Pierce, 1977. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

A photo of Boyer also rests on a stand in the department’s lobby.

On the wall behind the photo are an artist’s portraits of WPD’ two other fallen officers, Det. Michael Lee Lane, who was shot and killed during an undercover operation on Dec. 13, 1979, and Cpl. John Lawrence Pierce, who died May 18, 1977, from injuries he sustained while undercover.

The department tracked down the artist who painted them, and she has been commissioned to paint a portrait of Boyer and two new portraits of Lane and Pierce.

The three paintings will stay on the wall in the lobby.

Boyer’s name has also been added to a fallen officer memorial outside the department’s front entrance.

The Whittier Police memorial has been updated to include Officer Keith Boyer, the third WPD officer to be killed in the line of duty. The Whittier Police Department is reflected in the memorial. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Boyer joined Whittier PD in 1989 as a jailer and became a sworn officer in 1990.

He had a variety of assignments throughout his tenure, including that of motor officer, school resource officer and K9 handler.

After Boyer’s death, WPD learned of his many quiet acts of community service and heroism beyond the outstanding police work he was already known for, the chief said.

Boyer made weekly visits to the home of a mentally ill man.

Parents of former students from La Serna High School, where Boyer served as a school resource officer, also came forward, and talking about the positive influence Boyer was in their kids’ lives.

“He was an ordinary person, but he did extraordinary things.”

Close to 3,000 mourners filled Calvary Chapel in Downey for Boyer’s funeral Boyer’s funeral at Calvary Chapel in Downey.

At least 1,000 police officers turned out, including officers from Chicago, Phoenix and New York City.

Boyer is buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park.

Recalling the days and weeks after Boyer’s death, Don Clark said: “They were crying on our shoulders as much as we were crying on theirs. They lost a good friend.”

Boyer’s mother, Nancy Clark, and his stepfather said the department has embraced them since the day he died.

“They really have become part of our family,” she said.

Nancy Clark, right, talks about her late son, Whittier PD Officer Keith Boyer, and what the Whittier Police Department has done to keep his memory alive. Her husband, Boyer’s stepfather Don Clark, is next her. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC