Vargas: Friend of fallen Whittier PD officer saw the man before the badge
This past week, many of us witnessed the funeral of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer. Thousands of police officers, family and community members showed up to honor the fallen officer.
While checking the Behind the Badge Facebook page, I saw a post from Scott “Pistol” Crockett, a Facebook friend of Officer Boyer’s. I reached out to him.
Scott is not a police officer. But like Officer Boyer, they shared a passion of music. They met at Rose Friends Church in Yorba Linda where Keith was a drummer.
Scott didn’t know Keith was a police officer until sometime later.
“He was the last person I ever thought would be a cop,” Scott said.
They connected frequently through Facebook, with their last contact on Jan. 20, when Keith told Scott he would try to make it to one of his gigs.
Scott told me when he heard a Whittier police officer had been shot he immediately sent Keith a message asking if he was OK. When he didn’t hear back, he had a bad feeling.
“I suddenly became very emotional thinking someone I knew might have just been killed,” he said.
Scott reached out to the Whittier Police Department and spoke to the watch commander.
“I was in tears when I spoke with him asking him if he could tell me if it was Keith,” Scott said.
Because family was still being notified, Scott was told the information could not be provided at that time.
Eventually, another friend in law enforcement told him Keith had been shot and killed by an armed suspect.
“I just broke down and cried,” Scott said. “In fact, I’m still crying every time I think about him. You have to understand, he was absolutely a beautiful guy with a great soul. Every day since it happened I think about him.”
Scott shared a posting from September 2015 in which Officer Boyer politely shared his concerns with Scott about dealing with legally armed drivers on car stops.
“Just because a person says something and has rights, officers have a right to do their job safely and go home to their families,” Keith wrote. “This whole entitlement in my opinion is ridiculous. Officers have no way of knowing whom we are stopping. Many times, an officer who stops a vehicle for an infraction turns into a shooting.”
I asked Scott how he was doing now. He got choked up as we spoke.
“I still think about him every day.”
He added, “Just this week I called my wife and told her I felt God was telling me to do something for police officers.”
Scott stopped by Costco and bought cases of snacks. He dropped them off at the Fullerton, La Habra and Brea police departments.
“I want people to know you may see that uniform and badge and become defensive,” Scott said. “We don’t see they are people and deserve respect for just being human beings trying to do one of the toughest jobs in the world.”
I agree with Scott wholeheartedly. We shouldn’t have to wait until an officer dies to appreciate his or her uniqueness and humanity.
Joe is a retired Anaheim Police Department captain. You can reach him at email@example.com.