SAN DIEGO — Support continues to pour in for two fallen San Diego police detectives killed in a wrong-way crash last Friday not just here at home, but also from across the nation.
There are a number of charities and groups that work to help the families of fallen officers. The National Fallen Officer Foundation began in Texas, but has been working to expand and contribute to families nationwide.
“The agencies grieve, but the whole nation grieves. Everybody started grieving of a senseless wrong-way driver that took these two individuals.”
Ron Leonard is a volunteer chaplain at the National Fallen Officer Foundation and dedicates his time to helping families of police officers who have been killed, along with his trauma response dog Molly.
Most recently, Leonard heard of the deaths of San Diego Police Detectives Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park, who were fatally hit by a speeding, wrong-way driver on I-5 in San Ysidro.
“They were doing a follow-up on cases that they were working, which is not unique to us. Even on your days off, you still do the work. We know Ryan was on-call for homicide,” San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said.
The Fallen Officer Foundation fundraises on its website and then writes a check directly to the next of kin of fallen officers.
“I know San Diego has a great chaplaincy program with the San Diego Police Department and their fire department, so they are going to reach out normally to them. So we’re pretty much just trying to help financially, but when we get to the smaller agencies, we really try to reach out and help them emotionally to make it through this,” said Leonard.
The community can donate through the National Fallen Officer Foundation website and there is also a fundraising effort locally by the San Diego Police Officers Association.
The San Diego Police Department says funeral services have not been scheduled for Park and Huntley-Park just yet.