Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Officer James John Rapozo

Visalia Police Department, California

End of Watch Friday, January 9, 1998

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Reflections for Officer James John Rapozo

Jas. Today is 25years since you left us. The weather is the same as 25 yrs ago...windy, rainy, flooding, fallen trees. Wow! Overall miserable.
I miss you so much. You weren't just my baby brother but also my best friend. I miss you so so much!
I know you can hear me when I talk to you.
I Love You Jaimino.

Kathi Rapozo Pearce
Big Sister Survivor of
Officer James John Rapozo
EOW 1-9-1998
Visalia PD

January 9, 2023

Officer Rapozo,
On today, the 25th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Visalia. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

January 9, 2023

I just met Officer Rapozo’s sister while shopping at See’s Candy in Rancho Santa Margarita for some holiday gifts. She was very sweet and we had a good conversation. I felt it necessary to visit Officer Rapozo’s officer down page especially since the anniversary is coming up. I pray for his family left behind, his friends and colleagues with VPD. I will be thinking about them all this holiday season. Thank you for your service Officer Rapozo your name will live on forever through us all.

Officer T. Craig
Laguna Beach Police Department

December 14, 2022

I don't visit your page each anniversary, Officer Memorial Day or Police Week...
I look at it when I think of you, or use you as an example, (which is often).
I see what your family writes and comments from friends, coworkers and strangers.
You lived as a modest, humble man, a cop that died as a Hero.
I am positive if you had been told the future, you would have been astounded.
You would have asked, "Me, a hero? " Then you would have laughed and said, "I'm just a cop, not hero material."
But, surprise, you are a hero, Jim.
A hero, that so many paid their respects to. Not with just flags, but with tear lined streets. You are a hero, that is still loved, honored, remembered and missed by so many.
You would have been disbelieving and you would have laughed at the idea - many years later of so many people thinking of you and missing you.
(Yes, Jim. Dying a "Hero", IS kind of a big deal!)
I know your "hero presence" is with all that knew you.
You will never be replaced or forgotten.
Your family has their hero with them always. Your wife can turn to her hero for support. Your daughters will have their hero to walk them down the aisle.
Friends, co-workers and the entire city of Visalia, has a hero.
Jim, being a "Hero", is the hardest job you have ever had.
But like everything in life, you did so well -You are doing an excellent job of Hero!
I know I speak for so many others, when I say, I miss you, I think of you often and you are my hero!

C. Briggs
Peace Officer, Prison Transport Deputy

August 11, 2020

My husband and I passed your memorial today as we drove through Visalia. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. You are remembered today.

Tina L Holtz
Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, NY (Ret.)

Bill Makuch

Deputy Tina L. Holtz
Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office (Ret.)

March 10, 2020

Rest in peace.

Lt. Jim Russo

January 10, 2018

Rest In Peace Brother in Blue. You are honored and remembered on the 20th anniversary of your EOW.

Officer Mike Robinson (Ret)
Upland Police Dept. CA

January 9, 2018

I was only 18, working at Baskin Robins the night of this tragedy, just around the corner from the apartment complex where the incident took place. I am 37 now, and I still remember this officer. The death of Officer Rapozo has taught me to respect law enforcement and the bravery and selflessness required for them to do their job. I am grateful for the men and women like Officer Rapozo that serve our communities and provide a better America for us to enjoy. Prayers and reverence to his family and friends.

Steve Schofield
Community Member

October 13, 2017

When I remember James, your husband, father and friend to many, I think of the dedicated, very intelligent, hard working, caring and kind man he was. A friend to all that had the honor to know him. I recall first meeting James while visiting the Tulare, Kings County Police Academy at COS. I was not surprised when James gratuated number 1. James would be working for the city of Hanford upon graduating. I recall thinking"wow, this guy is going to be awesome". Later, while serving on the NTF team for Kings County I had the honor to work with James when he was a patrolman. He would often stop by our office to provide us with informant information. He later served the same team with distinction and honor. I recall when he went to VPD. I asked him why he was leaving HPD since he had such a bright future. We all thought he would one day be our supervisor. He told me it was to better provide for his future family and gain from the opportunities VPD would provide. I will never forget the day he was killed. I will never forget the funeral. Some have said they could barely hold back tears. I was the one with tears running down my face. Those tears come back every time I think of that awful day when we lost a brother and friend because his family lost so much more. To his son and daughter, know he is with you always.

Retired officer, Todd Rhea

March 21, 2017

I went to the COS Academy with Jimmy. He always worked hard to be #1 and was a born leader. Always one who you could talked to and be friendly with even when we were both trying to be first. As I was at the Tulare County Sheriff and Jimmy was at Visalia we would see each other on the street once in a while. Remember those days we would say. I lived down the street from where the shooting happened and will never forget as I saw the Coroner van pull up and was told that Jimmy had passed. So long brother, miss you each day, your family is doing fine, don't worry so much.

Sgt. Dennis McElhaney
Tulare County Sheriff's Office

February 24, 2015

A Hero now in Heaven, always remembered and never forgotten.

Kim Weigand Mom of Sgt. Mike Weigand

January 9, 2015

I worked with Jimmy at the Los Angeles BNE as part of the LA-71 Crackdown Buy-Bust Team. We worked together on narcotic stings and buy-busts in the mid-90's. Although he liked working LA, Jimmy was a family man and wanted to go back to his family in the Central Valley. Jimmy had a great personality and an infectious smile that he always sported. Our team was devastated when we found out about the OIS incident and found out it was Jimmy. We all headed to the memorial service to honor him, what a great loss! On this Christmas may you continue to rest in peace, brother, and watch over your family forever.

Cris Abad, SAS-Retired
California DOJ

December 26, 2014

I had only been a deputy for 3 years when James was killed. I was at his funeral and could barely hold in my tears as his wife and little boy walked by me. A couple of years ago I saw his son at the family uniform shop and he was sporting a cool tattoo honoring his dad. He told me he was going to the academy and was going to follow in his father's footsteps. I wish him the best of luck.

Sergeant Brett Hershberger
Clovis PD (Former Kings County Deputy)

February 26, 2014

It has been 15 years since you have been taken from us. I remember James coming into the ER when I was working to have a cup of coffee on a quick yet not often break. Joking and laughing.....talking about family. I have had the privilege of watching little Max & Megan turn into a beautiful young lady and a fine young man who is a spitting image of his daddy. & Merr, she's an inspiration to all of us LEOW's. I love your family James, and Rick and I will never forget you! Our kids have met you through us and they too will continue to tell your story! In Honor....there is Valor!

Carmela J

January 16, 2013

I knew the young man who shot Officer Rapozo and also knew Officer Rapozo. I was the same age as the child who killed James and we attended the same middle and high school. I met Officer Rapozo when I was 12 years old and he came out to my house when my alcoholic father had been abusing my family. He gave me his business card and told me if I ever needed to talk to him about getting help for me or my family not to hesitate to call him. I still have that card. I felt sick about this whole situation, because I respected Officer Rapozo so much for what he was trying to do in the world- and also because the 16 year old murderer was someone I used to talk with in classes and who always was kind to me and quiet on campus. This kid used the same gun to kill James Rapozo that his own father used to commit suicide. It was a terrible irony. I believe the gun was destroyed after all of this, thankfully. What happened that awful day Officer Rapozo lost his life was the result of what gangs and violence does to children. Alfonso turned to the streets when he couldn't turn to a family- a common occurrence in Tulare County, sadly. I am now 30 years old and have had 3 other class mates from Visalia murdered in the past 11 years. They have all been drug or gang related crimes. I now live out of state and never plan on returning to the Central Valley of California..too many tragic memories and not enough hope.

Native Daughter
who will never forget the fallen

April 12, 2012

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

Officer 11169

January 23, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 14th 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 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. I pray for solace for all those who love and remember you for I know both the pain and pride are forever.

Rest In Peace

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

January 9, 2012

Although I never met Jim I feel that I know him. Being an operator on VPD SWAT and seen the relationships that have grown with this team, the family that has developed, we never forget. His anniversay is approaching again on Monday, 1/9/12, & again we will gather and try to hold back tears as we honor a hero. In Honor there is Valor, no retreat, no surrender

Detective Robert Gonzales
Visalia Police Department

January 7, 2012

It is people like Officer James Rapozo that made the city safe. I only hope that one day through my hard work as a sailor I can be remember by Visalia, my home town, that did not back down. I salute you as a man in uniform. I salute you as a Sailor.

USN, Honor Courage, Committment!

HTFN Alequin, Steven USN
Department of the Navy, DOD

March 31, 2010



March 7, 2010

On the 12th anniversary of Officer Rapozo's death, we honored his service in our patrol briefing by reading his entry from ODMP. Each day, we honor one fallen officer on the anniversary of their death so as to keep them in our thoughts, and also to remind us of the dangers inherent in our job. Officer Rapozo is not forgotten.

Sergeant Zach Perron
Palo Alto (CA) Police Department

January 9, 2010

I remember my first day of orientation with the Kings County Sheriffs Department on March 26,1990.I met Rapozo in Lt. Walt Osbornes office. Before going onto Visalia he worked for our department for awhile. He was the first officer I knew who was killed in the line of duty.I think about him all the time. He gave his life to protect others. I can only wish I had the courage to do that.I pray I never have to.God bless you James,and may God watch over and protect your family.

Deputy Darrin Ellis
Kings County Sherrifs Department

June 18, 2009

Today will be 10 years since you past away. I know that you are in a better place. However, I often think about the family you left behind. I wonder how your children are doing most of all. Megan should be 16 and Max 14 by now. I am so sorry that you got taken away from them so early in their lives. I hope that they are well and making you proud. Because I know that you watch over them and are always by their side. I wish there would have been something I could have done to prevent this. Then again, I am sure a lot of people feel this way. My prayers are still with you and your family. You have not been forgotten. HERO

Concerned Citizen

January 9, 2008



January 2, 2008

"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
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

September 20, 2007

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