This Monument honors the memory of the Peace Officers from law enforcement agencies in Tulare County who were killed in the line of duty.
The park setting at the corner of Burrel and Woodland in Visalia was dedicted on May 16, 2001.
The memorial is made from two types of granite. The head piece outlines the shape of Tulare County. Etched on the face are two badges with mourning bands. The star represents the Sheriff’s Department and the shield represents all other law enforcement agencies in Tulare County.
The names of our fallen heroes are forever etched in the tiered granite base as well as in our hearts. The monument is but a small token of our recognition of the officers, as well as the surviving family members, who did “Give the Ultimate Sacrifice.” May they never be forgotten.
Sergeant Greg Hernandez
Date of Birth: March 28, 1958
Date Appointed: October 21, 1984
End of Watch: February 6, 2009
Sergeant Greg Hernandez died in the line of duty on February 6, 2009. Sergeant Greg Hernandez was responding to a call to assist one of his deputies when he collided with a tractor trailer on the evening of January 29, 2009. Sergeant Hernandez rushed to Fresno Regional Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries. Sergeant Hernandez, age 50, graduated from College of the Sequoias Police Academy in May of 1984. He worked in a number of specialized units such as Narcotics, SWAT and was a Hostage Negotiator. Hernandez served the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years. He is survived by his Mother, Rosa, fiance Carrie Lawrence and his daughter Kristina.
Detective Kent Haws
Date of Birth: October 1, 1969
Date Appointed: January 18, 1998
End of Watch: December 17, 2007
Detective Kent Haws died in the line of duty on December 17, 2007. Detective Haws was checking a suspicious subject along an orchard north of the town of Ivanhoe when he was shot by the suspect. Detective Haws was rushed to Kaweah Delta District Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Detective Haws, age 38, graduated from College of the Sequoias Police Academy in December of 1998. He was a member of the SWAT team and Search and Rescue team. Haws served the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years. He is survived by his wife Frances and their three children Dominic, Nicholas and Evan.
Deputy Kevin E. Elium
Date of Birth: November 13, 1970
Date Appointed: January 28, 2001
End of Watch: October 7, 2005
On the evening of October 6, 2005, Deputy Kevin Elium, a five year veteran of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, was on patrol in Porterville with volunteer sheriff’s chaplain Lee Sorenson. At approximately 2100 hours Deputy Elium answered a call to back up a fellow deputy on a high-risk traffic stop in the Strathmore area. As he attempted to pass a car with lights and siren on, his patrol car went off the narrow roadway and hit a tree.
The driver of the car Elium was passing witnessed the crash and was first to call 911 dispatchers on a cell phone. Both Elium and Sorenson were pinned in the patrol call. After about 25 minutes, Sorenson, age 73, was pulled from the car by rescue crews and taken to Sierra View District Hospital, where he since recovered from his injuries. It took approximately another hour to free Elium from the wreckage. He was flown by helicopter to University Medical Center in Fresno. He died at the hospital shortly after midnight on October 7.
October 12, 2005 Deputy Elium was remembered as a caring father, respected deputy, and smiling friend during funeral services at the Church of the Nazarene in Porterville. More than 1,000 people, including peace officers from up and down the state ranging from El Segundo Police Department near Los Angeles to El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department in Northern California, came to pay their respects to the fallen deputy. “I can’t give you a reason for why this happened. … I can tell you I lost a hard-working deputy,” Tulare County Sheriff Bill Wittman said during the service.
After the church services, dozens of patrol cars and police motorcycles along with ambulances and fire trucks, led a two-mile procession to Hillcrest Memorial Park for graveside services that included a 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, and a helicopter flyover from the California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Departments of Fresno and Kern counties. While a bagpiper mournfully played “Amazing Grace,” one of Deputy Elium’s three children helped to release a flock of white doves that circled over the crowd before disappearing into the horizon.
Elium served in the U.S. Army and worked as an emergency medical technician in the South Valley for ten years. He was hired by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department after graduating from the College of the Sequoias Police Academy in 2001. He worked first in the detentions division and later transferred to transportation. He was promoted to patrol duties in 2004, working from the sheriff’s Porterville substation. Deputy Elium is survived by his three children, parents, and foster parents.
Deputy Michael R. Egan
Date of Birth: July 11, 1948
Date Appointed: July 25, 1983
End of Watch: May 2, 1989
Deputy Egan died on May 2, 1989, as a result of a traffic accident while on his way to Porterville Municipal Court to testify in a narcotic’s case. A woman failed to stop at a red light and collided with Egan’s patrol unit. He died at the scene of the accident.
Egan came to Tulare County Sheriff’s Department in July of 1983 after serving nine years with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He was a member of the Department’s Special Tactical Enforcement Patrol, a unit within the Sheriff’s detective division. He is survived by his wife, Joann; daughters, Michelle and Nicole; and son, Robert.
Detective Joseph Ruiz Landin
Date of Birth: August 29, 1950
Date Appointed: January 19, 1981
End of Watch: August 5, 1985
Detective Joseph Landin died August 5, 1985, as a result of a traffic accident while investigating a narcotic’s case. Also killed was his partner, Detective Monty Conley. A driver ran a stop sign and slammed into the deputies’ patrol unit on the Highway 99 and Avenue 120 off ramp. The driver was subsequently sentenced to five years, four months in prison on the conviction of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
The deputies were members of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Narcotic’s Task Force. Prior to joining the Department in 1981, Landin was a patrol officer for the Woodlake Police Department from 1974 to 1981. Landin, 34, lived in Woodlake at the time of his death. He left a wife, Betty, and three small children. Landin joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1981 after six years as a Woodlake police officer. He was a 1968 graduate of Woodlake High School and also graduated from College of the Sequoias and the Tulare-Kings County Law Enforcement Academy.
With the department, Landin served in several divisions including the Sheriff’s Tactical Enforcement Patrol, which patrols high-crime areas and the narcotics division. He was secretary and current vice president of the Latino Peace Officers Association and a member of the Woodlake branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Association. A native of Lamesa, Texas, Landin moved to Woodlake in 1965 and settled there with his wife, Bette, and three young children – sons Joseph and Christopher and daughter Monica.
Detective Monty L. Conley
Date of Birth: April 16, 1952
Date Appointed: June 17, 1973
End of Watch: August 5, 1985
Detective Monty Conley died August 5, 1985, as a result of a traffic accident while investigating a narcotic’s case. Also killed was his partner, Detective Joseph Landin. A driver ran a stop sign and slammed into the deputies’ patrol unit on the Highway 99 and Avenue 120 off ramp. The driver was subsequently sentenced to five years, four months in prison on the conviction of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
The deputies were members of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Narcotic’s Task Force. Prior to joining the Department, Conley worked as a patrol officer for Woodlake Police Department from 1972 to 1973. Conley joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1973. He worked in various divisions, most recently serving as assistant commander of the narcotics division. He was voted Officer of The Year by the Visalia Optimists Club this spring and was a member of the California Narcotics Task Force.
Conley was born in Shamrock, Texas, and moved to Woodlake in 1955. He attended Woodlake High School and College of the Sequoias and became Woodlake’s youngest police officer at age 19. He lived in Woodlake with is wife, Rosalie, and their 7-year-old son, Matthew Earl.
Deputy Carlos M. Magana
Date of Birth:
End of Watch: December 9, 1970
Deputy Carlos M. Magana, Tulare Co. Sheriff’s Dept., died in an accident Dec. 9, 1970 as he was responding to a possibly burglary in progress at the Stone Corral Irrigation Water District Office. His patrol unit was struck by a train in heavy fog at an unsignaled railroad crossing. Prior to joining the Tulare Co. Sheriff’s Department, Magana was Assistant Chief of Police in Fowler for eight years. Besides his wife, Agnes, he was survived by three children, Todd, 8, Monica, 4, and Greg, 2.
Deputy Vernon L. Cox
Date of Birth:
End of Watch: April 15, 1965
Deputy Vernon L. Cox, Tulare Co. Sheriff’s Dept., died in the line of duty on April 15, 1965. Cox, along with Deputy Donald L. Green and Sgt. Ralph M. Cross, were investigating burglaries in the Tulare area and were enroute to recover stolen items and to try to arrest a burglary suspect when their unit was struck in an intersection by another car. Green and Cross recovered from their injuries.
Cox, 29, was a native of Norman, Oklahoma, attended Porterville Union High School, and was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. His wife, Betty Lou; two sons, Wendell and Wessie; and a daughter, Belinda, survived him.
Deputy Ross C. Cochran
Date of Birth: June 2, 1888
Date Appointed: September 15, 1951
End of Watch: November 19, 1951
Deputy Ross Cochran was killed in an automobile accident while on duty Nov. 19, 1951, while traveling northbound on Highway 99, enroute to investigate a burglary at Tagus Ranch. He struck the right side of a southbound vehicle which had crossed into the northbound lane. The accident occurred approximately 2 ½ miles north of Tulare. Dep. Cochran died while enroute to the hospital. The occupants of the other vehicle were two Bakersfield, California brothers who had been traveling on he wrong side of the “then” two lane highway.
Deputy Ross Cochran had been a law enforcement officer for over twenty years, having been a cattle inspector, a Tulare Police officer, and acting Tulare Police Chief then a Deputy Sheriff with Tulare County. He had been with the Sheriff’s Department for approximately two months before his demise at the age of 63.
Deputy Carl Oscar Johnson
Date of Birth: July 1, 1898
Date Appointed: May 1, 1951
End of Watch: September 30, 1951
On July 27, 1951, Carl Oscar Johnson, Special Deputy Sheriff for Tulare County and a prominent California Hot Springs cattle rancher, was shot by a felony suspect whom he was trying to arrest. The suspect, John Vallier, was believed to have stolen a car belonging to a man in Felton and was hiding in a vacant CA Hot Springs cabin on Carver Ranch. Johnson and four residents of the CA Hot Springs area drove to the cabin to arrest Vallier. When they got there, Vallier shot Johnson in the shoulder with a .22 caliber rifle, and citizen Oscar Cline responded by wounding Vallier in the arm with the same type rifle.
Johnson and the suspect were rushed to the Porterville Hospital and treated by Dr. George Rey, Jr. The suspect recovered and was released to face felony charges of assault. He was found to be insane in a Superior Court hearing and was transferred to a mental institution. Unfortunately, Johnson’s condition was determined to be critical and his fight for life began. He continued to suffer because the bullet was lodged in a severad artery and nerves in his arm were damaged. On Sept. 17, 1951, he was moved from the Porterville Hospital to one in San Francisco to receive treatment for the injured nerve, which was resulting in paralysis of his arm. Johnson underwent surgery on Sept. 29, and died the next day.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Johnson had resided in the Porterville area since 1929. Although Johnson had only been a sworn officer for the Sheriff’s Department since May 29, 1951, he was a well-respected rancher in the mountain area as well as a member of Porterville Lodge 303 and of Al Malkai Temple of the Shrine in Fresno. He left behind his wife, Katherine Johnson, two step sons, a brother and a sister.
Deputy Oscar A. Beaver
Date of Birth: Unknown
Date Appointed: Unknown
End of Watch: 8-6-1892
Deputy Oscar Beaver died August 6, 1892, as a result of gunshot wounds received while attempting to apprehend two notorious train robbers, Cris Evans and John Sontag. They were hiding out at the Evans’ farm when Deputy Beaver tried to arrest them. “Deputy Beaver was stationed in an open space directly in front of the door with not a weed or brush to screen him from the robbers.” Reported the August 8, 1892 edition of the Visalia Daily Times newspaper. Two U.S. Marshals, Vern Coke Wilson and Andrew W. McGinnis, were shot and killed while attempting to capture Deputy Beaver’s murderers in September of that year. Deputy Beaver was 34 years old, and left behind his wife and 3 year old son.
Deputy John N. Wren
Date of Birth: 1849
End of Watch: July 5, 1889
Deputy John N. Wren was killed on July 5, 1889, while attempting to arrest suspect Charles Reavis for disturbing the peace by using vulgar and abusive language against his wife, Annie Reavis, while in the presence of others. Deputy Wren was riding his horse into town when he confronted Reavis about 2 miles east of Visalia. Reavis made a furtive movement, as if for a gun, and Deputy Wren fired upon Reavis, striking the suspect’s horse. Reavis returned fire and shot Deputy Wren in the head. A reward of $200 was offered for the arrest of Charles Reavis, who was subsequently hunted down by a sheriff’s posse lead by Deputy Sheriff White on July 7th, 1889. Deputy Wren left behind a wife, Amanda, and three children, John, Louis and Winifred.