Gone, but never forgotten.
Three officers who made the ultimate sacrifice were remembered and honored Friday, Oct. 23 during Lassen Family Services’ annual wreath dedication ceremony.
The ceremony, held at the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, remembered Lassen County Deputy Larry Griffith, Susanville Police Officer Robert McElrath, Modoc County Deputy Jack Hopkins and all other fallen heroes. All three of the officers honored Friday lost their lives responding to or through acts of domestic violence.
According to Lassen Family Services Executive Director Angela Reed, this event is one to remember the heroes lost and honor their sacrifices.
A wreath was hung in the memory of the three officers and tributes shared some insight into their selfless acts of service.
“We are aware of the level of violence law enforcement faces when they respond to a domestic violence call,” said Heather Roney during the ceremony. “We see their dedication to the community.”
An increase in domestic violence cases also increases the risk to officers responding to the calls, she said.
“We need to remember the sacrifice these officers made,” Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon said while speaking about deputy Griffith.
Griffith was always more concerned about his friends and family than himself, Growdon said, and ultimately lost his life protecting another while responding to a domestic violence call.
Growdon noted each community member has a role to play in raising awareness and stopping domestic violence.
“It is incumbent on each of us to do out part,” he said.
Modoc County Sheriff Tex Dowdy spoke about deputy Hopkins who was killed responding to a domestic violence call in 2016.
“That was the worst day of my entire career. I think about him every day,” said Dowdy.
The Modoc County sheriff continued, saying honoring Hopkins’ life never gets easier, and reflected on the deputy’s time with the department.
“He will never be forgotten,” he said.
Susanville Police Department Captain Ryan Cochran spoke about officer McElrath and shared some domestic violence statistics.
“He had a big smile, kind words, a kind heart and a devotion to serving the community,” said Cochran. “He was always willing to go above and beyond. We all miss him dearly.”
McElrath lost his life due to an act of domestic violence.
According to Cochran, the SPD has responded to 113 domestic violence calls so far in 2020, and he touted the services Lassen Family Services provides.
Pastor Elizabeth Darely provided the invocation and benediction for the ceremony, and Joe’s Coffee Shop, Merry Morsels and Diamond Mountain Casino made donations. CDCR presented the colors and Jessica Scrogin sang the National Anthem.