Since its establishment, the Visalia Police Department has lost two officers in the line of duty; Sergeant Charles "Hugh" Garrison in 1946 and Officer James Rapozo in 1998.
Date of Birth: June 23, 1908 Date Appointed: June 30, 1938 End of Watch: November 6, 1946
In 1937, "Hugh" Garrison joined the Visalia Police Department and served in this capacity until he enlisted in the US Navy during WWII. Upon his discharge in 1946, he returned to the Visalia Police Department. On November 6, 1946, 38 year old Sergeant Garrison and 23 year old suspect, Clyde Bauer of Woodlake, were both mortally wounded. Police had been searching for Bauer for approximately 43 hours, as he was suspected of stealing an automobile from a Main Street garage after smashing a storeroom window. While attempting to arrest the fugitive, a confrontation developed between Garrison and Bauer, both of whom were armed. Garrison was shot once at close range, and the suspect, Bauer, was struck twice. Sergeant Garrison, was survived by his wife, Geneva (now deceased), and was interred in the Visalia Cemetery on November 7, 1946. In 1992, relative donated Sergeant Garrison's badge and Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum revolver inscribed "CHG" to the Visalia Police Department Museum.
Date of Birth: June 14, 1964 Date Appointed: April 20, 1992 End of Watch: January 9, 1998
Officer James Rapozo was fatally shot during a SWAT raid on January 9, 1998. He was the first policeman killed in Visalia in more than half a century. Rapozo was a native Hanford. He graduated from Hanford High School in 1982 and California State University Fresno in 1987. His career in law enforcement began when he was first hired with the Hanford Police Department. He later worked for the Kings County Sheriff's Office, the California Department of Justice, and the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. After being hired by the Visalia Police Department, he eventually became a member of the Basic Car Team, SWAT, Field Training Unit, and the Patrol Planning Council.
On September 10, 1999, the California Legislature unanimously approved the renaming of the Visalia portion of SR 198 to "Officer James Rapozo Freeway".