Flags at the Redwood City Police Department were at half-staff Wednesday in honor of a fallen officer killed 32 years ago today in the line of duty.
Redwood City police officers of all ranks today donned their "Class A" uniforms to honor the sacrifice made by Sgt. George Garrett, 39, who was killed in an attempted bank robbery in Redwood City on May 8, 1981, Lt. Sean Hart said today.
Garrett was one of four officers who were responding to a call of a possible bomb threat and two silent alarm activations at the Bank of America, then located at 110 California St., just after noon on May 8, 1981. The bank was crowded with customers and Garrett, who was first on scene, approached the bank manager Sylvia Harris' desk, according to police.
Sitting at her desk was a man, whom when Garrett tapped on his shoulder to say hello pulled a gun from his waistband. Police say Garrett shoved bank manager Harris out of the way while grabbing for his gun but was shot by the suspect once in between the eyes and once in the chest, according to police. The suspect, identified as Raleigh Porsche, 36, an ex-convict released in a prisoner exchange program, was shot dead at the scene by the other responding officers. Each year, the Police Department uses May 8 as a day of remembrance, Hart said.
At a briefing Wednesday, command staff, including chaplains and chiefs, shared the story of Garrett and highlighted the risks associated with law enforcement.
"We honor this on every death anniversary," Hart said. "All officers wear their Class A uniforms, which is a dress uniform with their tie and a black band over their badge in his honor."
Hart added that not only is it important to honor Garrett's memory for his legacy and what he did for the department and the community but also use his story in the forethought of the minds of the city's officers. "Our job is dangerous and this story keeps us aware of officer safety and that these things happen, even here in Redwood City," Hart said.
More than 1,400 people attended Garrett's funeral. He was survived by his wife, who was eight months pregnant with their first child at the time of his death. Nineteen days after his murder, his daughter Nicole was born.
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