Caravans of officers from both Clallam and Jefferson counties will make their way to the Tacoma Dome on Tuesday for the public memorial service for the Lakewood police officers who were killed on duty.
Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Gregory Richards, 42, were shot and killed Sunday morning at a coffee shop in suburban Parkland.
Maurice Clemmons, 37, the suspected killer of the officers, was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer early Tuesday morning.
The public memorial for the slain officers will begin at 1 p.m.
“We’re going to send as many officers that want to go,” said Brian Smith, Port Angeles Deputy Chief of Police.
“We’ll have a pretty good showing down there.”
Said Ron Cameron, Chief Criminal Deputy in the Clallam County’s Sheriff’s Office: “Most of the command staff will be going over.”
At least 20 East Jefferson County law enforcement officers, from both the Port Townsend Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, will attend as well.
“We take care of our own,” Port Townsend Officer Luke Bogues said.
“If it happened to me, if I were killed, I would want to know that my family isn’t going to show up to my service and look at empty seats.
“We want to be there to show that we’re all one family.”
More than 20,000 members of the law enforcement community, emergency response personnel and the public from throughout the state are expected to attend the memorial at Tacoma Dome at 2727 E. D St.
Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict, Undersheriff Ron Peregrin and a number of sergeants and deputies are expected to attend the ceremony.
“We fully intend to be there, and we will be representing Clallam County at that function,” Peregrin said.
“We’ll probably have a couple of cars,” Cameron added.
“I think I drew the short straw because I have to stay.”
Smith estimates that the Port Angeles police will have sworn officers and uniformed volunteers in about five police cars making the trip.
The Forks Police Department and State Patrol Troopers from Clallam County will each have at least one representative at the memorial.
Olympic National Park will have two rangers in attendance.
The Sequim Police Department did not return calls on Wednesday asking about officers’ plans.
A firm number won’t be known until officers can switched shifts and ensuring adequate patrols in the local jurisdictions.
“Obviously we have a job to do here,” Smith said.
Black arm bands
Since Sunday, law enforcement officers throughout the state have worn black bands around their badges in a show of solidarity to the victims and their families.
Smith described police memorials as “difficult” to attend because of the pain left over from crimes that shouldn’t happen.
“It’s a very moving experience,” he said.
Smith recalled the large memorial for Forest Service Officer Kristine Fairbanks, who was shot and killed near Sequim in September 2008.
“We saw it here in our community,” Smith said. “You’re multiplying that by four.”
There are indirect relationships between North Olympic Peninsula officers and the four Lakewood officers, Smith said, because of the state’s close-knit law enforcement community.
“Law enforcement in Washington isn’t very big,” Smith said. “There are all sorts of connections.”
A deputy in the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, for example, took a basic training class with one of the fallen officers, Cameron said.
The Port Angeles Police K-9 units train with Lakewood police on a regular basis, Smith added.
The state Department of Corrections confirmed on Wednesday that Griswold had a brother who is a corrections lieutenant in Clallam Bay.
A department spokeswoman declined to the name the man, who did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.
Trooper Krista Hedstrom, State Patrol spokeswoman, said Owens was an academy classmate of Port Angeles-based Trooper John Ryan.
Mike Doherty, chair of Clallam County’s Board of Commissioners, led a moment of silence before Tuesday’s business meeting “to show the board’s respect for the people who serve in public safety and law enforcement.”
“Apparently it’s the greatest loss of [law enforcement] life in the history of the state of Washington,” Doherty said.
After the moment of silence, Peregrin spoke on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s seems too often we put these black bands on our badges in the last couple of years,” Peregrin said.
“The best part of one of these events is the show of public support for law enforcement and the families. And for that we are truly grateful.”
Since Sunday, Smith has witnessed citizens thanking officers and offering condolences about the Lakewood tragedy.
“It’s a side of people that’s very nice to see,” Smith said.
Hedstrom said the outcry of public support reminds her that most of the citizenry appreciates law enforcement officers.
“You sometimes forget about all the people who support you and support what you do,” Hedstrom said.
The Port Townsend Police Department has nine officers interested in attending, and that number may grow.
Port Townsend Police Sgt. Joe Karre said he postponed a training exercise on Tuesday so officers could make the trip if they wished.
“You do it to honor the profession,” Karre said. “These officers who died were there doing their job.”
On Wednesday, three Port Townsend Police officers — Sherry Erickson, Patrick Fudally and Matt Krysinski — went to a growing memorial at the Lakewood Police Department to add badges and notes to the line of flowers and gifts lining up around the building.
“It’s getting huge, the memorial,” Krysinski said. “People are recognizing what police do when they go to work.
“This brings it to light, that this is dangerous, but we are still the same as six months or a year ago. We are still doing that job and we will keep doing it.
Jefferson County Sheriff Tony Hernandez said that he and 10 of his deputies and sergeants will attend the ceremony.
“When you have an event like this it’s a painful reminder of the dangers this profession faces every day,” Hernandez said. “It’s also a painful reminder to the public of the dedication of these officers, and all officers across the nation.
“It reminds all of us of the sacrifice we are willing to give every day. That’s why we are going.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.Reporter Erik Hidle also contributed to this story.