|Birth: ||Jul. 29, 1955|
|Death: ||Jan. 5, 1997|
Deputy James W. Lehmann Jr.:
James Lehmann was mourned Saturday, Jan. 11, by 3,000 law enforcement comrades and friends as an "A-plus guy" who gave his life making the community a safer place in which to live, work and raise a family.
"The fullness of a man's life is not measured solely in years, but in what he accomplishes," Sheriff Smith said in his eulogy of Lehmann. "Using that measure, Jim lived a full life – as a husband, father and police officer," Smith said. "He will be missed."
Peace officers from 145 agencies attended Lehmann's funeral in Our Lady of the Desert Catholic Church. The procession included 3,000 motorcycle officers and hundreds more in squad cars, some from as far away as Placer County in Northern California and Blythe on the Arizona border.
The funeral service included remembrances from Lehmann's colleagues. At the conclusion, every officer from the Banning station touched his casket as a final tribute to their dead colleague.
Following the services, a train of police and civilian cars stretched the entire seven miles to Sunset Hills Memorial Park, where Lehmann was buried. Residents along the route waved American flags when his hearse passed by; some snapped to attention. One woman held a placard that read simply "RIP."
Lehmann's grave lies in the shadows of nearby mountain peaks and commands a majestic view of Apple Valley and the high desert, where he attended college and lived the last seven years with his family.
A waterfall flows gently nearby. Although fog shrouded the roads leading to Apple Valley before the service, the heavens opened and brilliant sunshine beamed down on those gathered at the gravesite. Two trumpeters blew "Taps" and a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace." Four helicopters from law enforcement agencies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties flew overhead, one peeling off in "the missing man formation."
Colleagues said Lehmann represented the best in law enforcement, a man who strapped on the gun and put on the badge not to earn a high salary or bask in the spotlight, but to keep peace in a world often struck by senseless acts of violence. "He had a quality of caring," said Assistant Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle. "He exemplified quality in the way he did his job, ran his family and served his community. His loss, and the loss of Deputy Haugen, leaves us with a sense of emptiness that cannot be filled."
Assemblyman Rod Pacheco, R-Riverside, a former Riverside County prosecutor, said the average person often doesn't realize the line separating chaos from peace is a thin one, staffed only by cops. The line got a little thinner with the loss of Lehmann and Haugen. But Pacheco doesn't doubt that the officers who carry on after their fallen comrades will continue to serve the public well. "We're able to live our lives in relative peace because of the men and women of law enforcement," he said. "They put their lives on the line every day."
Mike Davis recalled Lehmann as a person "who would go the extra mile for anyone" without having to be prodded. He was almost like a coach on the field, taking aside players and showing them the proper way to block or tackle an opponent. It was the same way when he was a police officer. When Lehmann answered his last call, he wasn't thinking about himself but only how to help, how to make a difference, Davis said.
"There are special people in this world whom everybody likes and respects and who care," Davis said. "Jim was that kind of man."
Lehmann is survived by his wife Valerie, 13-year-old son Chris, and nine-year-old daughter Ashley.
From the CA Honor Roll
My Deepest Thanks to
Sentimental Fella (#46853022)
for sponsoring Jim's memorial
Sunset Hills Memorial Park
San Bernardino County
Created by: Sharon
Record added: Jun 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27841216