When Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy Martin J. Roohan’s end of watch came on Oct. 23, 1862, his death marked the first law enforcement officer in the county to lose his life while on duty protecting others.
Since then 37 more have lost their lives; Jeffrey Fontana the most recent when he was shot and killed on Oct. 28, 2001 in the Almaden Valley community of San Jose.
A gathering of family of the fallen, top brass law enforcement and city officials from across the county came together to show love, honor and respect in remembrance to those who died while on duty.
“We are here to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our communities,” said Capt. Michael Doty.
Come October it will be 50 years since a joint resolution by Congress requested President John F. Kennedy to designate May 15 at Peace Officers Memorial Day. The service on Friday, which took place outside the Sheriff’s headquarters at 55 W. Younger Ave., included a silent ride by horse, Rocky, a riderless mount; a flag raising by the Sheriff’s Honor Guard Unit; and a keynote address by Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman.
The names of the 38 fallen peace officers were read aloud and after their end of watch date was announced a bell was rung in their honor.
Among the trees to the side of the event’s focal point the Sheriff’s Pipes and Drums corps played Amazing Grace and San Jose Police officer Robert Payne played Taps following a booming 21-gun salute.
Here are the names of the fallen and their end of watch dates.
In Remembrance Forever
Santa Clara County State Traffic Force
Albert S. “Sunny Jim” MargasonMarch 7, 1927
California Highway Patrol
Raymond H. BerryApril 8, 1945 Ralph Vargas Sept. 30, 1952 Coburn B. Jewell Feb. 1, 1964 Charles R. Lilly Oct. 29, 1967 William D. McKim Feb. 6, 1973 Adolfo M. Hernandez June 27, 1975 Scott M. Greenly Jan. 7, 1998 Palo Alto Police Department Lester H. Cole Jan. 31, 1969 Gene A. Clifton Nov. 19, 1971 Theodore H. Brassinga May 15, 1994 Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Martin J. Roohan Oct. 23, 1862 M.W. Hendricks Feb. 15, 1866 George T. Headen Oct. 19, 1897 Herbert McAuley Nov. 11, 1931 Eugene Denton July 8, 1955 Spencer Lee Little Dec. 2, 1983 Douglas B. Miller June 9, 1986 Paul R. Bush Sept. 12, 1990 Santa Clara Police Department George Whybark March 14, 1910 William L. Rickabaugh Jan. 11, 1966 Ben L. Mendis Oct. 20, 1971 San Jose Police Department Morris V. Hubbard July 12, 1924 John Buck April 5, 1933 John Covalesk Nov. 15, 1950 Richard Huerta Aug. 6, 1970 Robert A. White Jan. 27, 1985 Henry I. Bunch July 29, 1985 Robert L. Wirht Sept. 8, 1988 Gordon A. Silva Jan. 20, 1989 Gene R. Simpson Jan. 20, 1989 Desmond Casey Oct. 25, 1999 Jeffrey M. Fontana Oct. 28, 2001 Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Gary L. Larson Jan. 28, 1962 Charles W. Morris Sept. 23, 1972 Charles P. Fraker Aug. 1, 1976 Edward J. Roth Nov. 29, 1980 Manuel Lopez March 3, 1987