Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Chief of Police Dennis Titla, Sr.

San Carlos Apache Tribal Police Department, Tribal Police

End of Watch Tuesday, April 12, 1960

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Reflections for Chief of Police Dennis Titla, Sr.

I remember the day this happened. I was 16 years old (1960) living with my grandparents in Gilson Wash, on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Gilson Wash is just one of the 3 main districts on this reservation.
I was eating a meal with my elderly grandparents looking out the door way to the northeast and I happen to look across the wash where a paddy wagon was parked. It wasn't far from Ernest Hill's house to the right.
I could see the scuffle that ensued and how the young kid took Dennis' pistol. From my view, I could only see one person. The distance from my house to the scene was less than 1/4 of a mile.
I was not a material witness as my parents told me to stay put as I was about to run toward the scene with having no fear of what I had just seen.
In 1988, 28 years later, I was to meet his son, Steve Titla, a prominent attorney in Globe, Arizona still, today.
It was during a summer Apache ceremony in the mountains east of San Carlos about 30 miles and I was asking for directions when Steve drove up looking at a puzzled Apache with 3 young non-Indian nurses who came to witness a puberty rite ceremony. Fortunately, we were rescued by Titla.
It was during this time when I began asking questions about who Steve Titla was and wondered who his father was. I was to learn that his father was the late Dennis Titla.
I spoke with Steve this day, May 19 to ask his permission to post this.

Steve is an acquaintance and I have never told him the particulars of the incident or that I witnessed what happened until today. It was difficult for me to share this with him. I know that he was appreciative of the information and I promised to post in memorial to his father during National Law Enforcement Week.

I knew the boy that committed this terrible murder. The kid wasn't very smart.
So, I have seen an actual killing of a policeman.
I would never want anyone else to witness such an incident.
The San Carlos Police force was the first official Native American police force organized at the turn of the century.
God Bless the Titla family during National Law Enforcement Week.

Friend of Dennis Titla son.

May 20, 2016

Chief Titla, today is the 56th anniversary of your murder. Though the eventual fate of those who murdered you is not shown here, I can only hope that they faced true justice, if not in this life, then in the next.

God Bless and may your eternal rest be peaceful, Brother.

Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Dept.

April 12, 2016

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

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

April 11, 2013

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 52nd 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.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

April 12, 2012

You were gone when I was 5 years old, too soon. I never knew you well but now that I am a father, I try to be present for my 3 sons. God bless you.

Steve Titla

August 29, 2011


Pat Van Den Berghe

August 26, 2008

I never knew you but your courage lives in me daily, and the people your served will never forget you.


January 15, 2007

Chief Titla, you are not forgotten

April 12, 2006

Chief Titla,
On today, the 46th anniversary of your murder, I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the San Carlos Tribe.


April 12, 2006

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