Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Officer William P. Sniffen

California Highway Patrol, California

End of Watch Thursday, April 5, 1973

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Officer William P. Sniffen

Officer Sniffen, I was thinking about you today as I often do even though it has been over half a century since we last saw each other at Wheeler AFB, Hawaii. We both survived the Halloween night mortar attack at Bien Hoa AB, RVN and that was one hectic night back in 1964 to be sure. I couldn't get to our crash trucks since the Army had direct hits on their hooches and the tracers were flying everywhere. One of the HH43B Helicopter Firefighters based near the base of the control tower was wounded by a friendly fire round but survived. You and I were both off duty that night but it was very scary none the less. How I ended up with your fatigue top on I can't say but all I could think about was getting out of my civies and into a uniform since it was unknown at the time if the base would be overrun. I can remember that night as if it was just yesterday and chaos reigned to be sure. The fire station where we worked was badly damaged by scrapnel as were the three pilot alert trailers next to the station. The VC had us zeroed in from the start since the first mortars hit about 30 yards from the front door of the fire station but all personnel made it out safely but 4 soldiers in the hooches mentioned didn't make it. How can you forget something like this, I know I cannot...and will not. Bye the way, Marty Jester and Eugene Traczyk both were awarded Silver Stars for their brave actions but they never received them until 34 years after that night. What a crock! Well goodnight once again old friend, sleep peacefully. It has been good for me to write and since I am now 74 years old, maybe we will meet again in the not to distant future...you at 31 and me at...who knows? Love you friend and I have not nor will I ever forget you. Note: William D., son of William P., I read your comments and would like to hear from and about your mother, your sister and you. Nothing personal but just maybe a little about your Dad between 1965 and 1973. I live in Ohio but have been in San Francisco a couple times over the years but could not find any info on your family. My daugter went to the Navy's A-School on Treasure Island before the base closed. I will enter my email but it will likely be removed for security reasons. My warmest regards to you and your family. You were indeed fortunate to have had Officer Snifffen as your Dad. I have some pics from Hawaii and Vietnam of your Dad if you are interested.

Robert G. Vanzant DVM
USAF Buddy

August 6, 2017

"When a good man is hurt, all who would be called good must suffer with him.”

Euripides

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

September 24, 2015

Although I never met you, the namesake and profession let me think of you as a brother. Rest in peace my friend. From my extended family in Oakland, our thoughts are with you and the fitting tribute that honors our name.

Aloha.

Lt. Rod Sniffen
Everett (WA) Police Department

May 29, 2013

I was honored to be at your sign dedication today. Thank you for your service.

Tom Maguire
California Highway Patrol

April 5, 2013

We all miss you, uncle Bill. Your spirit is always with us.

Aloha,

Jarrod Sniffen

Captain Jarrod Sniffen
San Jose Fire, nephew

January 5, 2012

Being from the east coast, I of course do not anyone in this family, but sharing the name, we cross paths on google all the time. My son now shares the same name and middle initial, so if it helps, the name lives on!

As we come up on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and living just 30 miles north of Ground Zero, it is important to remember any member of law enforcement and rescue teams that lost thier lives that day and continue to suffer the affects of helping. I make sure my son and his sisters remember and we are proud to share the name!

William E. Sniffen
none

September 9, 2011

Bill and I worked together as beat partners on the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland on afternoon shift. He was on his motorcycle and I was the car cop. He invited me many times to have dinner with his family and I really enjoyed going to his home and and being their dinner guest. They are a great family ... I remember his German Shepard dog keeping close watch on me and Bill laughing and reassuring me that his dog would not bite me. My thanks to the Sniffen Family for having me over for dinner.
Bill was the best self-defense training officer that I ever knew and a great beat partner.
In November of 1972 I transferred out of Oakland and early in 1973 I last saw Bill at the CHP Academy. He was happy to see me and I was happy to see him. I can still see his smiling face. I thank God for knowing Bill and his Family.

LEGIONS OF ANGELS PRAYER
May Legions of Angels descend from the Heavens to watch over the Family of Bill Sniffen. God Bless Bill's Family.
In Jesus Name.
Amen.


T.O. Bob Penkivich
California Highway Patrol (Retired)

August 13, 2011

I am 77 years old now and time is dimming some of the memories. I was Bill Sniffen's break-in-officer at the old San Leandro CHP office. I met Bill's wife and saw young Bill when he was just a baby. The Oakland office split off from the San Leandro office and the San Leandro office became the Hayward Office. Bill was a terrific guy and officer. Bill was easy going but a black belt and of a size that you knew you did not want to tangle with him. Shortly after the Oakland office split from the San Leandro office Bill transfered to Oakland to be closer to home so we lost contact. I felt a great loss at Bill's tragic CHP motorcycle accident and still think of him throughout all these years. I was glad to find this site and see that Bill's family is doing well. Bill Sniffen will forever be in my thoughts. July 29, 2011

Officer Don Turnbaugh 3672
CHP

July 29, 2011

I thought I had seen every possible piece of literature written about my father until I came across this page today. I would like to thank EVERYONE who has written something about him, whether you knew him or not. This may be one of the best sites I have come across, in that all those who knew him remember how he lived rather than how he passed. If Lt. Carriger is the same Gary I remember, I can recall how he and the other patrol officers would come over to our house to enjoy a meal --and continued to come over the years to pay their respects to my mother, sister and myself. My mother and sister are both doing well. I'm know he watches over us constantly and looks down on his grandchildren with a smile.

I had the opportunity to visit the CHP in Oakland, specifically for the 25th anniversary of his passing. Again, I would like to thank Capt. Kidder and all the other officers and employees for showing me their kindness. There were still a few people there that worked directly with him, who remember the man and not just the photo on the wall. I know I'll never forget, because every time I look on the mirror, I see him. I am, proudly, the spitting image of my father. So much so, in fact, that one of the officers thought I was his brother!

Although I was only five years old at the time, I can still remember sitting on his bike with him...parked in the garage, of course. And now, more than 37 years later, I still remember and thank you all for remembering him too.

I carry your blood and strength to this day, daddy. I love and miss you. WE love and miss you.

With aloha always,
Billy

William D. Sniffen
Son

June 16, 2010

Another year has passed and you are still admired and respectfully remembered in the hearts and minds of so many. My thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones and friends on this anniversary of your EOW. You will never be forgotten.

James Sheppard
Father of Sgt. Jason L. Sheppard EOW 12/7/06

April 5, 2010

Rest in Peace, Officer Sniffen. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

October 22, 2009

Just wanted to honor your sacrifice on the anniversary of your loss. Can it be that 36 years have passed since you were taken??? Hopefully, the Newhall boys greeted you when you arrived in Heaven and made you feel at home. Keep watching over the troops down here, they need you all to keep safe.

Thank you for your service and sacrifice,
LoVae

LoVae Pray Martines, Law Enforcement Lia
MADD-San Bernardino County, CA

April 5, 2009

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 36th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

Unfortunately, no matter how well trained or competent the officers are, every day on the job is a day of peril. Within the last three weeks 4 brave officers from Oakland, CA and 3 brave officers from Pittsburgh, PA have been murdered by thugs wielding AK-47s. How brave are each of our true American heroes who face danger each day he or she pins on their badges to police our streets so that our communities may be safeguarded.

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater

April 5, 2009

You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten.
We thank you for your sacrifice while trying to make the world a better place.

Kenneth Sales, U.S. Probation Officer
United States Probation Office, Beckley, WV

June 23, 2008

YOU ARE REMEMBERED TODAY AND THANK YOU SIR FOR YOUR SERVICE

Pat Van Den Berghe
MANCHESTER, NH

April 7, 2008

Met several of your former partners while doing my time out of 3601 Telegraph Ave.. You were fondly remebered as a Great officer and Decent man.. Keep resting easy Motorman knowing the Blue and Gold NEVER forgets our own!! God Bless All

DB
Calif Hwy Patrol. Ret.

April 5, 2008

My father spoke of you fondly and often. I was 12 years old at the time of your passing. My dad grieved as did my mom who carpooled with your wife during that time. I never met you but my dad spoke of coaching you in the Alameda PD PAL and said you were a very good baseball player. One of my dad's fondest memories is the day you told him you had been hired by the CHP and how happy you looked. I heard your name mentioned throughout the years until my dad's passing in 2004. Although I never met you, I remember what my dad said and looked you up hear. Rest In Peace, brother.

Ofc. Christopher Shipley
BART Police Department

December 27, 2007

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Sergeant
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

November 21, 2007

Don't remember my Uncle Bill. I wasn't born for another 3 years after his passing. But his memory lives forever with his family, which grows stronger as the years pass.

Aaron Fong
nephew

September 20, 2007

Officer Sniffen, I was interested in you because my son died in Oakland on August 6, 2006. You were the last CHP officer to die in Oakland before my son. He also had the name William. He was 2 1/2 months old when you were killed. He was killed on an on ramp to the same freeway where you died. I wonder how your loved ones are doing after 33 years. I know that I will live with this sadness for the rest of my life. I hope you are resting in peace and if you meet my son in the great beyond, give him a hug for me.
Caroline Clearman
Mother of Officer Brent William Clearman (August 6, 2006)

Caroline Clearman
Mother of fallen Officer Brent William Clearman

September 30, 2006

You were a good Air Force buddy and we spent a "lifetime" together while serving both at Wheeler AFB (Hawaii) and when we both volunteered to go to Bien Hoa AB (Vietnam). I happened upon the news of your death just today and I was absolutely shocked by what I read. Your memorial picture looks just as I remembered you so many years ago and my eyes are full of tears at this moment just from the thought of you and our friendship. I did not know you were a California Patrol Officer but I knew you would somehow make good use in life of you intellect and your black belt. I never really gave much thought on how you would make good use of both but I can see you found a way. Good-bye dear friend...I have missed you and I will miss you even more now. I pray God your family has gotten through the sorrow of your loss by now but I will forever remember the great couple that you and Anna made. I would very much like to meet her again one day. Farewell...!

Robert G. Vanzant DVM
Air Force Buddy

June 23, 2006

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
Matthew 5:9

June 22, 2006

I salute you for your service and honor you for your sacrifice.

April 13, 2005

Brudda, it's been many years but your sacrifice is not forgotten. Still remember the way you could run in the academy.

Gary Carriger #4465

Lt. Gary Carriger retired
Sacramento District Attorney

September 27, 2003

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