Lassen County Under Sheriff Alan Dowdy, left, Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon and Susanville Mayor Kevin Stafford hang wreaths for fallen officers — deputy Larry Griffith, officer Robert McElrath and deputy Jack Hopkins — during the Friday, Oct. 5 Wreath Dedication. Photo by Makenzie Davis

Annual event honors fallen officers

Their watch may have ended, but they will truly never be forgotten.

During the Friday, Oct. 5 Wreath Dedication ceremony put on by Lassen Family Services, local law enforcement, government officials and the community honored the lives and sacrifices of deputy Larry Griffith, officer Robert McElrath and deputy Jack Hopkins.

“Today we pay tribute to the three officers,” said Lassen Family Services director Melissa Downing. Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon spoke about Griffith, Susanville Mayor Kevin Stafford shared about McElrath and Lassen County Under Sheriff Alan Dowdy shared a tribute about Hopkins.

Each hung a wreath in remembrance of the three lives lost to some form of domestic violence, either as the victim, or trying to help a victim.

“When law enforcement responds to these calls, they know the situation can be volatile to both them and the victim,” Downing continued.

The event coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “I’m happy we as a community are coming together to fight (domestic violence),” Growdon said.

Griffith started as a Lassen County Sheriff’s deputy in 1984. “He was always more concerned about family and friends than himself,” Growdon said, adding he died trying to help a domestic violence victim in March 1995 when he responded to a domestic violence call east of Ravendale.

Stafford shared his relationship with McElrath.

“His death was a tragic event, but his life was a blessing,” Stafford said. “Rob was one who could be counted on.”

Whether it was volunteering with youth programs, or his dedication and desire to serve others, “Rob will be remembered forever,” he added.

McElrath passed from an act of domestic violence in January 2011.

Hopkins joined the Modoc County Sheriff’s office as a deputy in 2016 and was known for his smile.

“It was hard to miss his smile, and he made the effort to say good morning to everyone,” Dowdy said. “He was the ultimate team player.” Hopkins was killed in the line of duty in Modoc County in October 2016, his first few weeks with the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Downing, Lassen Family Services helped 293 domestic violence victims in 2017. There were 214 calls for law enforcement regarding domestic violence.

If you, or someone you know, needs help, call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 257-5004.

 

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