On Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, the San Gabriel Police Department commemorated the 91st anniversary of the killing of one of its own, police officer Elmer H. Griffin.
The San Gabriel Police honored the memory of Officer Griffin, by laying a beautiful wreath beside the bronze plaque at the front of the police station, which memorializes Officer Griffin’s passing.
On the evening of February 7, 1926, Officer Elmer H. Griffin conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle he suspected of transporting bootleg alcohol. It was the time of prohibition, and illegal alcohol was commonly transported in private vehicles. Officer Griffin confirmed his suspicion and placed all four vehicle occupants under arrest. As was the practice back then, Officer Griffin and his partner climbed onto the side rails of the suspect vehicle and ordered the driver to drive to the police station.
On the way to the police station, one of the occupants drew his revolver and fired into the stomach of Officer Griffin. Griffin fell onto the roadway, but despite being mortally wounded, Officer Griffin was able to fire two rounds at two of the suspects who fled on foot. Unfortunately, within minutes of arriving at the hospital, Officer Elmer Griffin succumbed to his wound and died. The shooter was subsequently arrested and convicted in the murder of Griffin.
Officer Griffin was the first documented San Gabriel police officer to die in the line of duty. Tragically, he would not be the last. On September 6, 1933, the San Gabriel Police Department suffered another line of duty death when Motor Officer Alvin W. Haynes, was struck and killed by a drunk driver while he conducted a traffic enforcement stop on Valley Boulevard east of San Gabriel Boulevard.
San Gabriel Police Officers Elmer H. Griffin, and Alvin W. Haynes you are gone, but not forgotten!