On the afternoon of January 29, 2004 the City of Westminister lost its first police officer “In the Line of Duty” in the forty-six year history of the Department and California lost its first officer “In the Line of Duty” in the New Year.
Motor Officer Steven L. Phillips; forty-six years old, a 17-year veteran of the Department was on routine traffic enforcement duty when his motorcycle collided with a sedan at an intersection in the City. The sedan, operated by Ly Xuan Ngo, a seventy-one year old resident of Garden Grove was apparently negotiating a left turn in the path of Officer Phillips when the collision occurred. Tragically, the driver of the sedan suffered massive injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Officer Phillips, also critically injured, was transported to a Huntington Beach hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
In honor of Officer Phillips, flags were flown at half-staff in the City of Westminister and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the American and State Flags that fly over the Capitol to half-staff in honor of the fallen officer.
Steven Phillips was a native Californian, born in Los Angeles and educated there. Destined to serve his country and his community, upon graduation from high school, he joined the United States Air Force where he served for four years a military policeman. Upon completion of his tour of duty he remained as an active reservist in the 30th Security Forces Squadron. Following the events of September 11, 2001 he was called back to active duty and served with distinction for another year. Having a strong desire to serve his community, on August 5, 1986 he embarked on his career as a police officer in the City of Westminister.
Office Phillips will be remembered by his fellow officers as “a quick-witted, easy going individual, who loved being a motor officer”. One of his fellow officers, Bill Arganda, described him as being “very experienced and extremely well liked. He made the job fun and he was a good spirited, great guy”. Steve was the recipient of numerous commendations for outstanding, professional service to the community. He was highly respected for his 12 years as a motor officer, mentoring and training younger officers, instilling in them the same passion for the job that he possessed.
On the morning of February 6 more than 2,000 uniformed peace officers representing jurisdictions statewide joined members of the Phillips family, civic leaders and fellow officers at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove to honor and memorialize an outstanding peace officer, a great American.
Westminister Chief of Police Andy Hall eulogized Steven Phillips as “a man who was faithful and true to his country, his marriage, the shield he wore so proudly, his friends and his fellow employees. His is truly a good life to celebrate”.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer was once again in attendance offering condolences on behalf of the people of California.
Officer Phillips is survived by his wife Sandy, his father and two brothers.
The Phillips family asked that any contributions in remembrance of Steven be made to the Steve Phillips Memorial Fund, WPOA, and P.O. Box 845, Westminister, CA 92684.