Although we honor their memory and sacrifice everyday, the month of May brings a special time of year where law enforcement personnel can come together with family members, friends, dignitaries, community leaders, elected officials, and the community to recognize and remember our fallen heroes in special memorial ceremonies locally and throughout the nation.
This year's ceremonies hit especially close to home for all the men and women of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, as local deputy Randy Hamson's name is being added to the California Peace Officers' Memorial in Sacramento, the National Peace Officers' Memorial in Washington D.C., and the Los Angeles County Peace Officers' Memorial in Whittier.
As a tribute to our fallen friend and hero, several deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station joined in caravan to Sacramento for the 33rd Annual California Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony Friday. The deputies joined members of Randy's family, Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca, Santa Clarita Station Captain Anthony La Berge, former Santa Clarita Valley Station Captain Patti Minutello, and thousands of law enforcement officers from around the nation.
The deputies attended the ceremony to honor their fallen comrade, support his family, and also recognize and remember 10 other law enforcement officers whose names were added to the now more than 1,400 names on the memorial.
"I, along with several personnel from the Santa Clarita Valley Station, found this ceremonial event to be a truly moving experience to both observe and be a part of, as we honored and paid tribute to Deputy Randy Hamson and the Hamson family," said Captain Anthony La Berge of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "Our thoughts are with them always."
After a long and hard-fought battle attempting to recover from injuries he sustained after being struck by a car on August 16, 2004, Hamson died on October 24, 2008. Deputy Hamson was on-duty and was protecting our community on Sierra Highway in the City of Santa Clarita when the tragic accident occurred.
Randy had been with the Department for just over five years. Sadly, Randy became the third deputy to be killed in the line of duty in Santa Clarita Valley Station’s history. He joined comrades Deputy Arthur E. Pelino , who was shot and killed in the line of duty by a mentally deranged suspect on March 19, 1978, and Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian , shot and killed in the line of duty while assisting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms during the service of a search warrant on August 31, 2001, in Stevenson Ranch.
The three deputies now forever remembered and memorialized as true heroes who dedicated their life, service, and protection to Los Angeles County and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. Those same comrades who came before him in a commitment and service, those who chose the same profession, and those who had the same desire to protect the innocence and quality of life in our great community.
Throughout the month of May, Santa Clarita deputies will participate in several other memorial events in remembrance of Randy, fallen troops at home and abroad, and all the law enforcement officers who have been lost in the line of duty throughout our nation.
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will travel to Washington D.C. this week to support Randy's family at the National Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony. Randy's name will be added to the Memorial's blue-gray marble walls, joining more than 17,500 law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Two motorcycle deputies from the Santa Clarita Station will have the prestigious honor of escorting Randy's family members and the families of peace officers from throughout the nation who have lost their sons, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers or other loved ones in the line of duty. The deputies pay their own expenses to make the trip or travel on private donations provided by community members or organizations.
Station personnel will then be involved with the the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's 2009 Memorial Torch Relay Run which will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 22 and will end on Sunday May 24. The relay run covers 339 miles and starts at the Sherman Block Sheriff’s Headquarters Building and travels non-stop throughout the day and night to each mainland Sheriff’s Station. This year the memorial run will be in special honor of the Southern California officers listed below and all those throughout the nation who have given their life in the protection of our communities and country.
The Memorial Torch is passed from teams of runners, bikers, walkers, and joggers, who devote their own time to honor the memory of all those who have fallen. The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will run 5 legs of the Memorial Torch Relay Run covering 25.7 miles throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
The torch will ultimately be used on Wednesday, May 27 at the 40th Annual Los Angeles County Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony, held in the beautiful Memorial Park at the at the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's - Sheriff's Training Academy and Regional Services (STARS) Center in Whittier, to light a candle at the Officers' Memorial Wall in tribute to fallen law enforcement officers.
Sheriff Lee Baca will preside over the ceremony to commemorate the lives of those peace officers who died in the line of duty while serving the residents of Los Angeles County. Attending the memorial ceremony will be numerous federal, state, and local dignitaries, in addition to family members, friends, and co-workers of the fallen officers. The ceremony will include musical performances by members of law enforcement and the release of white doves on behalf of the fallen officers.
Those honored and remembered will include:
Deputy Juan A. Escalante, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
End of Watch: August 2, 2008
Officer Spree DeSha, Los Angeles Police Department
EOW: September 12, 2008
Deputy Randy J. Hamson, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
EOW: October 24, 2008
Officer Joseph P. Sanders, California Highway Patrol, Santa Fe Springs
EOW: December 15, 2008
Lieutenant Curtis A. Massey, Culver City Police Department
EOW: January 28, 2009
Bronze plaques with the names of all five officers will now join the more than 470 law enforcement officers whose names are inscribed on the Memorial Wall to honor their dedication to duty and the ultimate sacrifice they made.
Randy joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on March 23, 1999, and graduated the Sheriff’s Academy on August 27, 1999. He worked at Pitchess Detention Center - East Facility, until April of 2003, and then began his patrol service at Santa Clarita Valley Station in April of 2003.
Randy will always be remembered as a diligent and hard working deputy. He was admired and respected by his fellow protectors, and the community. He was a great partner, public servant, and friend. He will truly be missed.
Up until the time of the accident, Randy resided in Simi Valley California with his wife and their three children. Randy is also survived by his parents Jim and Carolyn Hamson, who reside in Paso Robles, his brother Tim Hamson, who is a Los Angeles City Fire Fighter and former Los Angeles Police Department member, and his brother Mike Hamson, who resides in Washington. His wife Cindy said what Randy always wanted to do was protect and serve the public -- like many, he lost his life fulfilling that dream.