On July 3, 2006, the Covina Police Department lost a 21-year veteran and their first officer In the Line of Duty. Sergeant Scott A. Hanson succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic collision nearly three years earlier. On August 14, 2003, Sgt. Hanson was traveling westbound on Badillo Street in his police unit. Upon entering the intersection at Citrus Avenue, Sgt. Hanson’s unit was struck broadside by another motorist who entered the intersection against the red light. As a result of the collision, Sgt. Hanson suffered extensive head trauma and never regained consciousness. After years of hospitalization and round-the-clock care, Sgt. Hanson passed away from multi-organ failure. “His body finally failed but his spirit never died,” said Covina Police Chief Kim Raney.
Sgt. Hanson started his career as a dispatcher with the Fullerton Police Department. Covina hired him as a police officer in 1985. He worked as a patrol officer, field training officer, detective, senior officer and patrol sergeant. Just two days before the collision that eventually took his life, Hanson celebrated his 18th anniversary with the Covina Police Department and the completion of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Chapman University.
Over 1,000 fellow officers, friends, and family members gathered at St. Louise De Marillac Roman Catholic Church on July 11th to pay their respects and honor Sgt. Hanson. He was remembered as a life-long Covina resident who married a local girl, raised a family, and served the community he loved. Chief Raney recalled, “He always wanted to be a cop. He wanted to serve the city he grew up in and he died serving the city.”
Growing up with three brothers and three sisters, Hanson showed glimpses of his chosen career from a very young age. His sister Sherrie Williams remembered Scott always playing the good guy. When a neighbor boy took a young Hanson’s bike and hid it, Williams said her brother called in the authorities – parents. The boy told the adults that Hanson gave the bike to him. Scott then pointed a finger at the culprit and declared, “Jimmy Johnson, you are a liar and a thief!” and the bike was returned.
Many state and local dignitaries were in attendance to honor Sgt. Hanson, including State Attorney General Bill Lockyer, “I’m honored to represent the law enforcement community and the 37 million Californians who share the grief of the family and friends of Scott Hanson.” He said Hanson didn’t choose his date of birth or his date of death, “…but the dash between those dates was his. He made wonderful choices. We acknowledge and honor him for the choices he made.”
“Scott Hanson was a godly and honorable man who went above and beyond to serve this community,” said Covina Councilman John King. “It was an honor for me to meet him and to know he was serving on our police force. He was a truly wonderful man.”
“He was a gentleman’s gentleman. Intelligent, analytical, practical and compassionate,” said County Fire Captain Randy Alva, a longtime friend who met him when they worked at the Fox Theater in the 1970s. Alva is one of “The Boys,” a group of Hanson’s friends who mostly worked at the theater. They would hang out at the local Marie Callender’s where another friend, Allison, worked. Allison and Scott eventually married and had two children, Andrew and Sarah.
In addition to his wife and children, Sgt. Hanson is survived by his mother Ursula; brothers Don, Chuck, and Ken; sisters, Sherrie Williams, Kerrie Dennis, and Jerrie Foss.
Sgt. Scott Hanson was laid to rest at Oakdale Memorial Park in Glendora wearing his uniform and his badge. In honor of him, the department will never use his number again – Sergeant No. 4.