On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice. Here at the Palo Alto Police Department, we have lost three officers in the line of duty
Reserve Officer Lester Cole was laying flares at an accident scene when he was struck and killed by the driver of an automobile. The driver reported he never saw the officer.
Officer Gene Clifton died as a result of a gunshot wound received on October 1, 1971. Officer Clifton was fatally wounded during a joint operation with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Palo Alto Police Department. A team of officers were attempting to execute a search warrant at a residence. The officers were already inside the residence when a suspect fired shots at the officers and ran into a bedroom. Officer Clifton was standing outside the bedroom when the suspect continued shooting, and a bullet went through the wall and struck him in the abdomen.
Reserve Officer Theodore Brassinga was accidentally shot and killed during a multi-agency training exercise aboard an Amtrak train for the 1994 World Cup Soccer tournament. The officers in the exercise were supposed to have unloaded weapons.
Officer Brassinga had served with the agency for 1 year. He was survived by his wife and son.