The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department had not lost an officer in the Line of Duty for more than 37 years. On the late morning of May 31, 2004 that was about to change. Deputy David P. Grant, a 15-year veteran of the Department, with more than 26 years of law enforcement experience, suffered fatal injuries responding to a “plane down” call near the town of Columbia. Responding appropriately to the call at a high rate of speed, Grant’s vehicle swerved to avoid colliding with two other vehicles, left the roadway and struck a tree. The critically injured Deputy was transported to the Sonora Regional Medical Center, where, surrounded by family and fellow deputies, he succumbed to his injuries.
Born and raised in Tuolumne County, David Grant was a “natural” and was destined to become a peace officer. At the tender age of sixteen he served as an Explorer Cadet with the Sonora Police Department. Following his career dream, he was sworn in as a Sonora police officer in 1978 at the age of twenty-one. Desiring to broaden his experience in a larger department, Grant accepted an appointment with the Oceanside, California Police Department in 1981. He served the City of Oceanside with distinction for eight years, but family and a deep-seated love for Tuolumne County caused him to return home. On October 9, 1989 David P. Grant was sworn in as a Tuolumne County Deputy Sheriff.
Tuolumne County Sheriff Dick Rogers, who had been a friend and had known Dave Grant all of his adult life, typified the out-pouring of sentiment and grief being expressed from the entire community, “He loved his profession, he loved helping people and he loved Tuolumne County. This Department is shaken to its core”. Sheriff Rogers went on to observe, “In a tight knit community like Tuolumne County, the loss of someone as beloved as Dave isn’t treated like it might be in some other areas of the State. It’s treated more like the loss of a close family member”.
On the afternoon of June 6, a procession of police, sheriff, fire, search and rescue, ambulance, and park service vehicles drove slowly down Sonora’s main street, escorting the limos carrying the Grant family to the Sierra Bible Church, where more than 2,000 mourners had gathered to pay their respects to Deputy David Grant. A myriad of law enforcement agencies, from as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada, were represented and Attorney General Bill Lockyer was once again present, offering condolences on behalf of the people of California.
Eulogized by many, perhaps the highest praise of Dave came from fellow Deputy Ken Diaz, President of the Tuolumne County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, when he said “I don’t know why this happened, but I do know that if God needed a police officer in the streets of Heaven, then he has one of our finest”.
Deputy Grant is survived by his wife “Richie”, Son Justin (24), adult daughters Rory Williams and Jennifer, a teen-age daughter Whitney (17).
The Grant family has requested that any remembrances be made to the “David P. Grant Scholarship Fund”, C/0 Central California Bank, 13375 “C” Mono Way, Sonora, CA