Riverside community honors fallen CHP officer

Riverside firefighters stand at attention April 16 as law enforcement officers from across the nation arrive at Harvest Christian Fellowship for Sgt. Steve Licon's memorial service. Banner | Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan | CBU Banner The procession for fallen officer Sgt. Steve Licon drives under the crossed ladders on the way to the private burial site.

A California Highway Patrol officer who was killed on duty by an allegedly drunken driver April 6 was honored April 16 in memorial services at Harvest Christian Fellowship at 10 a.m.

A procession for Sgt. Steve Licon began at 7:30 a.m. at Acheson & Graham Garden of Prayer Mortuary on Magnolia Avenue and continued Harvest on Arlington Avenue for the services.

Licon was killed while performing a routine traffic stop. Michael Joseph Callahan, 36, was allegedly driving the car that struck Licon and was charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty in the case.

Among those attending the memorial services were Gavin Newsom, California governor, and William “Rusty” Bailey, Riverside mayor. Bailey said he was inspired by Licon and the life he lived.

“I’m proud that the city of Riverside and Harvest Church hosted this incredible tribute to a fallen law enforcement officer,” Bailey said. “He exemplified public service.”

Along the route, many community members came out to remember Licon and show their support for the Riverside Police Department. One of those people was Elizabeth Fox, a teacher at John Adams Elementary School.

“When we heard that the service was going to be held so close to the school at Harvest, we decided to make some signs, grab our flags and come out and show our support for the fallen officer,” Fox said.

Robert Jordan | CBU Banner Arizona State Troopers showed their support by attending the service. The black band over the badge signifies the loss of a fellow officer. Sgt. Steve Licon’s badge number is displayed on the band.

Fox and her fellow teachers also decided to bring their students with them to watch the procession. She said they felt it was important for the students to learn about supporting the community.

“(The other teachers and I) wanted to show the (students) that it’s important to be there for the officers who keep us safe and to show (the students) that the officers are our friends,” Fox said. “They’re here to protect us and when something like this happens, we need to support them.”

Ryan Railsback, Riverside Police Department public information officer, said this display of support for a fallen officer is typical among members of the police force.

“Generally, you’ll see a lot of law enforcement vehicles from all different parts of the country. A lot of them are off duty, too,” Railsback said. “They’re just paying their respects to a fellow officer who was killed in the line of duty. There is this kind of brother and sisterhood among the law enforcement, just like you see in the military.”

Railsback said an estimated 5,000 people attended the memorial service to remember Licon and pay their respects. Many of the memorial’s attendees were affiliated with police departments throughout California, as well as across the country.

Among the states represented by members of their police force was the Arizona State Troopers.

Capt. Jacob Pruet, motor commander of the Arizona troopers, said Licon, as a motor police officer, was a part of a family.

“(Motor police officers) are a family, so it was important for us to honor him,” Pruet said. “Unfortunately, this happens more than we would like it to, but for any state-level law enforcement or motorist (police officer’s) death, we will always try to go.”

Licon is survived by his wife, daughter and stepdaughter.

Correction: An earlier caption misidentified Riverside Fire as California Highway Patrol.

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