Chief of Police James Leonard Speer

Chief of Police James Leonard Speer

Calipatria Police Department, California

End of Watch Friday, April 10, 1998

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James Leonard Speer

Chief of Police James Speer was shot and killed after responding to a call at an equipment yard on the outskirts of Calipatria, a tiny town in Imperial County.

Chief of Police Speer was found dead along with the mother of the suspect. The suspect had managed to gain control of Chief Speer's weapon and shot him in the chest.

The man fled across the United States - Mexico border, where he was apprehended by Mexican authorities. He was returned to the United States, convicted of both murders and sentenced to death.

Chief Speer was a United States Army National Guard veteran who had served as chief of the Calipatria Police Department for 10 years and had previously served with the Brawley Police Department, Calexico Police Department, and Imperial County Sheriff's Department. He had a total of 40 years of law enforcement service. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and grandchildren.


  • Age 65
  • Tour 40 years
  • Badge 700
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to death


Most Recent Reflection

View all 37 Reflections

Chief Speer, you were always a fair and thoughtful supervisor while I worked for you at Calexico PD in 1984. Rest in peace SeƱor.

David De la Garza
Calexico PD

August 17, 2023

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