Sacramento Police and Sheriff's 17th Annual Remembrance Ceremony

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2019-05-16

WOODLAKE, SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - On Friday, May 2, officers from several agencies, including Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, descended upon the quiet Woodlake neighborhood for the 17th Annual Remembrance Ceremony, and to commemorate a new memorial plaque for Officer Mark Stasyuk who lost his life in the line of duty on September 17, 2018.

The ceremony included a procession of law enforcement officers from Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento Sheriff’s Department led by the Sacramento Firefighters Pipes and Drums.

Officer Paul Brown, President of the Sacramento Police Sheriff’s Memorial Foundation welcomed officers, fallen officer families, dignitaries, fellow officers from outside agencies, and the general public.

“Today, let us remember our Sacramento fallen,” said the 20 year Sacramento Police Department veteran.

Pastor Anthony Sadler of Shiloh Baptist Church gave the invocation prior to guest speakers.


“It is in times like these that we realize how fragile we are and how quickly our loved ones can be taken away from us.” Each officer, he added, to be remembered had paid the ultimate price, as did the fallen officer’s family, in order to protect the citizens.

“Today we are saddened, and also honored, to add yet one more hero to the rank.” He then called for prayers for Deputy Mark Stasyuk and his family.


“We honor Deputy Stasyuk for his extraordinary bravery in the face of imminent danger,” he stated.


Throughout the invocation, the bells of Sacramento Regional Transit’s light sounded gently. The memorial, a living monument, is situated across the street from Woodlake Park and behind the light rail station on Arden Way. Land was donated by North Sacramento Land Company, wrote Rotary Club of North Sacramento President, Stephen Lemmon. His organization, along with Woodlake Improvement Club worked with the land company.


“Since we had a great working relationship with the Sacramento Police Department, the idea was hatched for a memorial,” Lemmon wrote, adding that Rotary Club member Dennis Tsuboi submitted the design and the club contributed $10,000.


In 1992, “a foundation was formed including both unions for Sac PD and Sac Sheriff, reps for the Chief and the Sheriff, the Rotary Club, Woodlake and the Council Member,” wrote Lemmon.


A list of major funders, board of directors, and past board members is etched in granite beside the dedication stone that reads, “For all those who served & sacrificed wearing the badge, we are eternally grateful.”


Sacramento Police Department Chief Daniel Hahn spoke first.


“Welcome to these sacred grounds,” he said. “We will never forget the sacrifice that you have made for our entire community.”


Chief Hahn spoke several minutes about current challenges for law enforcement, community, and how these men and women “know what it takes to protect our community, to protect our values and our way of life.”


“We pray that this will be the last year that we add a name to this very important memorial,” said Hahn.
Sheriff Scott R. Jones spoke next, thanking Supervisor Susan Peters, general public, and fellow officers.


“I love coming to this place. I come from time to time. It seems like things are a little quieter, things are a bit more contemplative. It seems like I’m able to be a little bit more reflective. I love the fact that the community takes care of this place. It is truly hollow ground,” he said, adding that he also hates that there needs to be a place like this and that another name needs to be added this year.


Mark Stasyuk’s name joined twenty other Sheriff’s department officers, District Attorney Investigator Grant Wilson, Galt Police Department Officer Kevin Tonn, and sixteen Sacramento Police Department officers.


“His life made a difference,” said District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.


Chief Todd Sockman, Galt Police Department, spoke about the family of law enforcement and the family that includes the community.


“As a family, we can get through this,” he said.


Following the guest speakers, the name of each of the 39 fallen officers was called, with a moment of silence, and the placement of a yellow rose on each memorial plaque by members of each respective agency. Each officer was honored with a white-gloved salute by a member of his agency.


Sheriff Jones said of 4 ½ year veteran Mark Stasyuk, that he “exemplified what it meant to be a law enforcement officer.”

   
Yellow roses were presented to members of the Stasyuk family who carried the flowers and placed them on his memorial.


Following a moment of silence, the rider-less horse was led in and through the memorial, a bugler played “Taps,” followed by a 21-gun salute, and a flyover of helicopters in the missing flyer formation.


“If one member suffers, all suffer together,” said Sacramento Police Officer William J. Conner in the benediction. “We are all part of something greater than ourselves.”


For additional information, visit: http://www.sacmemorial.org/.

 

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - On June 19, 2019, at approximately 6:10 p.m., Sacramento Police Department Officer Tara O’Sullivan, 26, was shot at the scene of a domestic violence incident. She was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center where she tragically died. Officer Tara O’Sullivan was a dedicated, young officer who had only been with the department for a year. This is the first line-of-duty death of a Sacramento Police Officer in twenty years.

At 5:41 p.m., Officer Tara O’Sullivan and fellow officers responded to a domestic disturbance. Approximately thirty minutes later, shots were fired by an armed gunman inside the house. Officer O’Sullivan was struck while trying to help a woman move her items outside of the home.

With Officer O’Sullivan down, the gunman continued to fire at officers which prevented any form of rescue. An armored vehicle arrived in response and officers were able to transport her to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

The standoff lasted for multiple hours until the gunman surrendered at 1:54 a.m.

Officer O’Sullivan was a recent graduate from Sacramento State’s Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars Program. After which, she graduated from the Sacramento Police Academy.

“The loss of Officer O’Sullivan is devastating, grievous, and a reminder that police work invokes heartbreak,” said Brad Houle, CAHP Credit Union President. “She displayed heroism while protecting an individual in our community. Her family, friends, and colleagues will always remember that she selflessly sacrificed her life to ensure the safety of another.”

Officer O’Sullivan will remain in the thoughts and prayers of our community as we mourn this heartbreaking loss.

The CAHP Credit Union has established a memorial fund in honor of Officer Tara O’Sullivan. The CAHP Credit Union is covering all processing fees and administrative responsibilities. Thank you for your continued support.

Donations can be made on the CAHP Credit Union website https://www.cahpcu.org/OfficerTaraOSullivanMemorialFund or mailed to:

Officer Tara O’Sullivan Memorial Fund
CAHP Credit Union
P.O. Box 276507
Sacramento, CA 95827-6507

California Association of Highway Patrolmen (CAHP) Credit Union has a membership of over 18,000 and is dedicated to matching the integrity, judgement and courtesy displayed by our peace officer members every day, in providing financial services whenever and wherever they need access to CAHP Credit Union.

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AUBURN, CA (MPG) - The Board of Supervisors of Placer County will move forward in developing a 2-1-1 information and referral system.

2-1-1 provides free online and telephone support to community members to connect them with resources ranging from disaster aid to health and human services. Nationwide, 2-1-1 is found in all 50 states and in 38 California counties. Placer had previously been the largest county in the state without 2-1-1 service.

Supervisors directed staff to move forward with 2-1-1 implementation, while asking staff to look for cost-saving opportunities and additional financial partners to support the effort.

“I think it's evident that we need this system. Hopefully we can continue to work together with partners on this project,” said District 1 Supervisor Bonnie Gore. “It's clear we need to move forward.”

County staff will be formalizing contracts in the coming months and hope to see the system begin to roll out sometime in the next year.

2-1-1 systems have proved beneficial in emergencies, like the wildfires that have ravaged California in recent years. The systems allow for the quick dissemination of information regarding evacuations, shelters, road closures and aid without the need to create and staff a separate call center, all while reducing call volume to 9-1-1.
 
“Having a 2-1-1 system better positions us for future disasters and will help us keep the public up-to-date and safe,” said Office of Emergency Services Assistant Director Holly Powers. “We are looking forward to having Placer residents join the millions of Americans served by 2-1-1.”
 
2-1-1 also provides a 24/7, one-stop shop — whether online or by phone — for referrals to community and health services including senior care, employment services, housing assistance, medical providers and much more.

“Rather than having to spend time searching out and remembering phone numbers, residents will be able to simply dial 2-1-1 and have all sorts of resources at their fingertips,” said Health and Human Services Director Jeff Brown. “It will be quick and much less hassle, where folks won’t be forced to navigate through a maze of programs.”

The proposal for a new 2-1-1 system arose out of conversations with community groups, law enforcement and other local leaders. Financial partners in the current effort include First 5 Placer and the Placer County Office of Education. The system will cost up to $250,000 annually after initial startup costs.

Information about the 2-1-1 launch can be found at placer.ca.gov as it becomes available.

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AUBURN, CA (MPG) - Local residents are stepping up in support of strengthening fire services in Placer County by approving increased assessment fees for their fire protection districts.

Two ballot measures aimed at improving local fire services in the Foresthill and Placer Hills service areas received the two-thirds majority vote required to pass.

The Placer County Registrar of Voters recently certified the results of the May 7 special elections for the Placer Hills and Foresthill fire protection districts.

The additional revenue will enable Foresthill to reopen and staff its previously closed fire station and increase employee salaries to reduce attrition and improve the ability to attract and recruit personnel.

For Placer Hills, the assessment increase will enable fire officials to maintain current staffing levels, prevent significant cutbacks and provide the appropriate level of fire protection and emergency medical response services to the communities they serve, which includes Applegate, Clipper Gap, Eden Valley, Meadow Vista and Weimar.

“We are thankful that our communities support the need for additional funding and are looking forward to a brighter future for our residents,” said Fire Chief Kirk Kushen, chief for the Placer Hills, Foresthill and Newcastle fire districts. “The additional revenue will provide us the ability to continue to serve our communities with the stability of service.”

The Foresthill and Placer Hills fire protection districts will reimburse the county for the cost of their respective elections.

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Placer County Launching Effort to Reinvent Old Tahoe City Firehouse

Source: Scott Sandow, County of Placer  |  2017-06-07

Placer County has restarted efforts to find a new use for the firehouse vacated by the North Tahoe Fire Protection District in 2011.

The firehouse, along with the adjoining Tahoe Community Center structure, is on the lakeside of Lake Blvd. near Commons Beach. Placer County initially started a public process for the site in 2011, but elected to wait for other planning efforts that would affect the potential uses for the structure.

“Our goal is to find the best use for the site that will facilitate improvement to Tahoe City’s community, environment and economy,” said Jennifer Merchant, Placer County’s deputy county executive officer for Lake Tahoe. “We’re really excited to work with stakeholders and the community to find the right fit.”

Placer County began working with stakeholders in April to solicit opinions and expert input on what could be the best use of the site, whether that means re-using the existing buildings, taking them down for a park or plaza, or some combination thereof.

The community is being asked to identify re-use options that are innovative, feasible from a cost and time perspective, and include a strategy for long-term financial self-sustainability.

The community will have a number of opportunities to participate in the planning process, learn more about potential options and voice their input:

Community Workshops:

  • June 5, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the old firehouse.
  • July 1, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the old firehouse.

North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council:

  • July 13, 6 p.m. at the Tahoe City Public Utility District building conference room.

Staff will present the workshop findings to the Placer County Board of Supervisors at their Tahoe board meeting scheduled for July 25 (Tahoe location TBD).

To find out more, to offer input on potential uses of the site, or to get involved, contact Suzy Vose at svose@placer.ca.gov or 530-886-4962.

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Senator Gaines Introduces Fire Tax Repeal

From the Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-03-09

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado)

In his continued efforts to fight against the illegal fire tax, Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) announced on March 2nd  Senate Bill 9, a measure to repeal the tax.

‘This fire tax is illegal and unfair – plain and simple,” said Senator Gaines. “Many rural property owners already pay local fire agencies for protection so it is clearly double-taxation and it is being dumped on the backs of rural Californians when parts of my district still have a more than 10-percent unemployment rate and families are struggling to make ends meet.”

Senate Bill 9 would reverse the annual $152.33 “fee” for fire prevention services charged to rural property owners located in “State Responsibility Areas” (SRA) designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), even though their property taxes already contribute to the service contracts that counties have with CAL FIRE.

The fire tax is imposed on more than 800,000 properties in the state that are within the boundaries of SRA. According to census and CAL FIRE data, Senator Gaines’ largely rural district includes roughly 20-percent or approximately 160,000 of the properties whose owners are subject to the fee.

Senator Gaines contends that the fire tax attempts to sidestep Proposition 26, the initiative passed in 2010 that prevents the Legislature from disguising taxes as “fees” and circumventing constitutional requirements for passing higher taxes. He has been a leading critic of the tax and has introduced numerous pieces of legislation in previous years that attempted to provide relief for rural Californians. Senator Gaines also strongly supports the lawsuit filed against the state by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association challenging the fee on constitutional grounds.

“I have fought this illegal tax at every turn and I encourage everyone who is stuck paying this phony fee to get in the arena and fight it too,” said Senator Gaines. “The answer to fire protection in California is not illegal taxes, but budgets that invest in core government services that protect every citizen in the state – rural, urban and suburban.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Blue Lives Matter

Commentary by Senator Ted Gaines  |  2016-12-08

Senator Ted Gaines

A handful of California families will find it hard to celebrate the holidays this year because they lost their fathers and brothers to senseless violence.

On October 19, Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Hopkins of Modoc County responded to a disturbance call and was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was only 31. On October 6, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen was shot dead responding to a burglary. The two deaths are a somber reminder that for our peace officers, their lives are on the line every time they are on patrol.

Each of these losses, hundreds of miles apart in our vast state, was a tragedy. But the same month, something far more sinister played out here, showing that America and our law enforcement have entered a new, more dangerous and shameful era that threatens the foundation of the lawful and civil society we enjoy.

Two Palm Springs police officers, Lesley Zerebny, 27, and Jose “Gil” Vega, 63, we murdered in a planned attack committed by John Hernandez Felix. These deaths did not occur during the commission of another crime, they were the crime. Felix set a trap for the officers and ambushed them, shooting them down in cold blood. It was not a one-off event.

In late November, a San Antonio policeman was ambush murdered as well. And, devastatingly, this summer’s hateful and violent anti-police protests culminated in the sickening assassination of five innocent police officers in Dallas. I only wish that the list was complete, but it’s not.

Driven by the media’s hysterical coverage of any shooting death that fits their political narrative of minority oppression at the hands of police, we’re trending into and upside down world where the protectors are viewed as predators. That’s wrong. It’s the open, politically inspired murder of police that is the real “hate crime” epidemic.

In this overheated environment, it’s little surprise that year-over-year law enforcement firearm-related deaths are up 67-percent in 2016.

This growing hostility towards the police is terrible for the men and women who serve to keep us safe, and it’s changing the way they police, with distressing effect.

The “Ferguson Effect” describes a retreat from effective, proactive policing that has been one driver of a multi-decade crime decline that is in danger of reversing. It’s a term rooted in the Ferguson Police shooting of strong-arm robber Michael Brown, where the infamous and false “hands up, don’t shoot!” became the big lie slogan of rioters, activists, and a complicit, left-wing media and political cabal.

Police around the country, fearful of becoming a media story, or tired of the jeering, snarling mobs that now surround and confront them in the course of their duties, have predictably began interacting more cautiously and less frequently with the public, to dire effect.

In Chicago, for example, police stops were down 90-percent in the first part of 2016, compared to 2015. Shootings in that city have skyrocketed. Heather MacDonald, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, blames the crime spike in Chicago (and other cities – it’s not a Chicago-specific phenomenon) on the abandonment of “broken windows” policing that sees police actively intervening in small, low-level public enforcement crimes. This retreat leads to disorder and emboldens criminals to commit more serious crimes. It’s a troubling shift in nationwide policing.

To make it worse, California is undertaking an unprecedented de-incarceration effort that is putting tens of thousands of criminals back out on the streets before their sentences are complete and making it more difficult to put offenders behind bars.

“Realignment,” 2014’s Proposition 47, and this year’s Proposition 57, all send a strong message to California criminals that the state is not interested in punishing them for their crimes.

It seems simple to understand that if you introduce more criminals into society, the result will be more crime.  True to form, California violent crime jumped 11-percent in the first six months of 2015, compared to 2014. Expect crime to spike even higher.

This is the worst possible time for the police to step back because they fear attacks, shaming or other fallout from simply doing their jobs to preserve law and order and keep us safe. The environment that has inflamed and emboldened sick criminals to murder public safety officers must change. It’s a dangerous job where officers make life-and-death decision in a fraction of a second, and they deserve wide latitude from the public and our deepest thanks.

Are there abuses of police power and individual officers who use bad judgment? Of course. And it’s incumbent on us to hold those bad actors accountable. But it’s foolish to attribute sins of the individuals to the whole profession.

FBI Director James Comey said in October that the “narrative that policing is biased and unfair…threatens the future of policing.” Director Comey should not have stopped there. A media-fueled degradation of respect for law enforcement threatens much more than the future of policing, it threatens the safe, civil society that we take too much for granted.

Honor our police.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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