If you see deputies running down the street over the weekend, they’re not necessarily running after a suspect. They are running to honor those law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in a three-day marathon run that will cover 339 miles and touch every patrol station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The Memorial Torch Relay run was established in 1976 to honor the memory of those brave, dedicated individuals in Los Angeles County who have sacrificed their lives in the performance of their duties. This three-day relay run consists of 59 legs, each approximately 4 to 10 miles in length.
Runners will leave Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau in Whittier at 8 a.m. Friday and embark on a three-day journey. According to Santa Clarita Valley run coordinator, Deputy Joe Trejo, the runners will pass every mainland patrol station in the sheriff’s system.
From SHB, they will go to East LA station, then to Temple, San Dimas, Walnut, Industry, Pico Rivera, Norwalk, Cerritos, Lakewood, Carson, Lomita, Compton, Century, South LA (formerly Lennox), Marina Del Rey, West Hollywood, Malibu/Lost Hills, Pierce College, Santa Clarita Valley, Palmdale, Lancaster, cross over Angeles Crest Highway to Crescenta Valley Station, Altadena and back to Whittier.
“They figure the timing on a 10-minute mile,” Trejo said.
The Santa Clarita Valley station will be represented by deputies and sheriff’s Explorers. They are scheduled to leave the station on Magic Mountain Parkway at 8:20 p.m. Saturday, turning left on Valencia Boulevard and continuing down Soledad Canyon Road, expecting to be at Soledad Canyon and Whites Canyon at 9:15 p.m., when they will proceed down Soledad and turn left on Sierra Highway; arriving at the Canyon Country Little League fields at 10:05 p.m. Their last leg of the run will begin at Sierra Highway and Center Street, across from the Alamo Ministries at 10:50 p.m., ending in the 8400 block of Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce, where deputies from Palmdale station will take over.
This year’s Memorial Torch Relay Run will honor the following officers, including Deputy Constable Ed Brown, the first on-duty casualty from the Santa Clarita Valley station, whose history was recently discovered. Brown died on Sept. 14, 1924, when he was shot in the abdomen during a gun battle. He and his partner responded to a disturbance call at a residence in Saugus. He died a few minutes later from those wounds.
• Officer Anthony A. Giniewicz, Signal Hill Police Department, was critically injured by gunfire on Feb. 19, 1985. Officer Giniewicz and his partner Officer Owens, while off-duty, were dining at a restaurant. Officer Owens left, was accosted and robbed by three men in the parking lot and ran inside to tell Officer Giniewicz. The two exited the restaurant and were shot at by the suspects as they drove out of the parking lot.
Officer Giniewicz was struck by the suspects’ gunfire and paralyzed from the chest down. He remained in poor health for many years until he ultimately succumbed on Dec. 7, 2011, due to complications from his wounds.
• Officer Ryan E. Stringer, Alhambra Police Department, was responding to a robbery in progress call on July 10, 2011, when his patrol vehicle collided with another patrol vehicle responding to the same call. Both officers were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries. Officer Stringer later succumbed to those injuries.
• Officer Andrew S. Garton, Hawthorne Police Department, was involved in a fatal motorcycle collision on May 26, 2011. Officer Garton was assisting in a funeral procession for a fallen officer from a neighboring agency. While working traffic control and security, his motorcycle collided with a motor officer from another police agency. Officer Garton was critically injured and died from his injuries.
On Wed., May 23, the 43rd annual Memorial Flame at the Los Angeles County Peace Officers’ Memorial Wall at Sheriff’s Headquarters in Whittier will be ignited in tribute to the fallen officers. This is a special way to honor law enforcement and it is open to the public.