About News Calendar Giving Back Political Action Excellence Gallery Fallen Officers Donate Contact

Fallen Officers

The Bakersfield Police Memorial was dedicated during National Law Enforcement Memorial Week in May 1998. The granite memorial, which is located near the entrance of the Bakersfield Police Department on Truxtun Avenue, serves as a lasting tribute to those Bakersfield Police Officers who sacrificed their lives in the line-of-duty.

The memorial is inscribed with: The Psalm of David reads

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil….”

It is in that valley the police officer commits his life to defend us daily. When the shadow of death descends upon them and takes them from us, hold them in high esteem and honor them, for they have paid the ultimate price and given their lives to protect ours.

R.N. Boggs, Detective
Bakersfield Police

Floyd Cummings

1/7/1952 – Injury from falling

Bakersfield Police Officer Floyd B.D.W. Cummings died January 7, 1952 during surgery for injuries sustained after a fall while on foot patrol. He was an 8 year veteran.

 

References: http://www.camemorial.org/

Patrick D. Vegas

6/20/1980 – Motorcycle Accident

A handful of Bakersfield Police Officers going off the night shift sat around the coffee room saying little. When they talked, the expressions were of disbelief and shock over the sudden death of Police Sergeant Patrick D. Vegas.

 

The last time a Bakersfield officer was killed while on duty was nearly 28-years earlier. A couple of the officers in the room were on duty when Vegas, 35, was struck down on his motorcycle at the intersection of White Land and Wible Road.

 

Vegas was responding to a traffic accident when a car driven by a 16-year-old juvenile collided with Vegas’ motorcycle. Vegas was pronounced dead at San Joaquin hospital about a half hour later.

 

Vegas, an 11-year veteran, was well liked and respected in the department. A Bakersfield native, Vegas was a graduate of Bakersfield High School, he also attended Bakersfield College. Vegas served in the army from 1966 to 1969, assigned to the infantry. During that time he served in combat in Vietnam, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

 

He left behind his wife, Beverin, daughter Darci, 5, and a son Chad, 6.

 

References: http://www.camemorial.org/

Thomas J. Packard

April 20, 1903 – Gunshot

Bakersfield City Marshal Thomas Jefferson Packard and Deputy Marshal William E. Tibbet were shot and killed in a shoot out with outlaw Jim McKinney. McKinney was also killed in the shoot out.

 

References: http://www.camemorial.org/

William L. Rucker

7/20/1952 – Motorcycle Accident

Police Officer William L. Rucker was killed when his motorcycle crashed almost head-on into a car at Palm and Oak streets in Bakersfield.

 

The 29-year-old motor patrolman was pronounced dead on arrival at Kern General Hospital.

 

Investigators say Rucker was northbound on Oak Street when the other driver negotiated a left turn from Oak onto Palm. Highway Patrol officers at the scene cited the other driver for alleged violation of right of way and making an improper left turn. One of the first persons to reach the crash scene was Rucker’s wife; she was following a short distance behind in the family car.

 

Rucker was not on duty at the time, but was taking his police motorcycle to the police mechanic shop for repair work.

 

The officer was appointed May 21, 1949 and had worked continuously as a motor officer since that time. A captain in the USAF, he was shot down and was a prisoner of war for two years.

 

He graduated from Manual Arts high school in Las Angeles, then started his training in the Army Air Corps in 1942, graduating at Stockton Air Base in 1943. He spent nine months in a German prison camp after being shot down on a mission and was liberated in May, 1945.

 

Returning to this country, he was stationed at Minterfield where he met the future Mrs. Rucker, the former Beverly Sands. Officer Rucker left behind his wife, Beverly, and two sons, Michael William and Patrick Jay.

 

References: http://www.camemorial.org/

William L. Sikola

7/17/1983 – Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle officer William Sikola, 27, affectionately dubbed “Pepsi Cola” by his friends, was officially off duty when he answered a call for assistance that led to his death.

 

Married and the father of three children, Sikola was a four year veteran of the Bakersfield Police Department. He had been a motorcycle officer for about three months. Police reports said the officer was headed home in uniform on his police motorcycle just after midnight when he heard a radio call asking for assistance in chasing a stolen car.

 

He responded to the call and quickly sped down northbound Highway 99 trying to head off the fleeing car. He was just south of the 24th street off-ramp when his motorcycle developed what police describe a “A high-speed wobble.” Sikola lost control of his bike and crashed into the center divider. He died of massive head and chest injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital.

 

References: http://www.camemorial.org/

Frank Sparks

6/16/1917 – Motorcycle Accident

On June 15, 1917, Motorcycle Officer Frank Sparks was involved in a head-on collision at 26th Street and Chester Avenue, while pursuing a speeding vehicle. He died from his injuries the following day. Sparks had joined the police force just a month prior.

 

References: http://www.camemorial.org/

Aaron A. Trent

8/22/1917 – Motorcycle Accident

Aaron A. Trent was appointed by Chief Munsey as Spark’s replacement following his death. In the predawn hours of August 22, while traveling north on Baker Street to a theft in progress, he failed to see an approaching Southern Pacific train. As he crossed the tracks, he collided with the engine. The force of the collision threw him under the train, killing him instantly.

 

References: http://www.camemorial.org/

David Nelson

6/26/2015 – Automobile Accident

At approximately 2:37 am on Friday, June 26, Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson made a car stop and a pursuit involving an unlicensed silver Hyundai ensued. Bakersfield dispatch lost radio contact with Officer Nelson and at approximately 2:40 am two other officers located Officer Nelson’s patrol vehicle which had slammed into a wall and was partially engulfed in flames. Officer Nelson was transported to Kern Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries at approximately 3:05 am.

 

On Saturday evening, June 27, a male 32-year old driver and apparent sole occupant of the silver Hyundai was arrested.

 

Officer David Nelson is the first Bakersfield Police officer to be killed in the line of duty since Officer William Leonard Sikola who was also killed in a vehicle pursuit in 1983. Officer Nelson, 26, was a 2-year veteran with the Bakersfield Police Department and is survived by his parents and siblings.

 

References: http://www.camemorial.org/