Better late than never: Hayward police memorial finally honors fallen officer
In a cemetery up in the hills of Hayward is a memorial dedicated to fallen Alameda County police officers and firefighters. I have visited this memorial in the past and wrote an article about it honoring the men whose names are inscribed upon. However, I regretfully didn’t realize until a few weeks afterwards that there was something wrong with the memorial. While it was erected to honor the names of all the officers and firefighters who gave their lives while in the line of duty in the county since 1971, one police officer’s name was missing.
On the evening of October 2, 1973, Officers Wendell Troyer and David Guider of the Oakland Police Department were patrolling over East Oakland in the police helicopter ARGUS when they received a call for assistance in locating a robbery suspect. They never made it to the call.
At some point during the flight, the officers lost control of the helicopter and crashed in a parking lot near Fruitvale and Foothill. An explosion triggered a fire in the wreckage, killing the trapped officers inside.
The pilot of the helicopter, 47 year old Wendell I. Troyer, was a 22-year veteran of the force.
His observer, 26 year old David George Guider, had been with the department for only four years but was a decorated veteran of Vietnam and the son of retired Piedmont Police Chief Louis Guider. He was only onboard the helicopter that night after volunteering to fill-in for the off-duty regular observer.
Soon after the crash, it was discovered Off. Troyer had been shot in the head and immediately Oakland Police began looking into the possibility that a sniper had shot down the officers.* However by 1974, it was announced that the helicopter had in fact been brought down by mechanical failure.
Since the founding of the Oakland Police Department in 1853, a total of 51** officers have died in the line of duty. The names of 19 of them can be found inscribed upon the Alameda County Fallen Officers and Firefighters Memorial at Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward.
When I first visited and photographed the memorial, I counted thirty-five names upon it, with Off. Guider’s being the first. However I didn’t realize at the time that Off. Troyer, who had died with Guider, was not included.
Luckily the error appears to have been realized. Last month when I went back to take some follow-up shots of the memorial with the names of the four Oakland police officers who were killed in March 2009, I found that Off. Troyer’s name has finally been inscribed at the very top of the memorial.
Looking back at the now forty names that are inscribed upon the Fallen Officers and Firefighters Memorial, all that is left to do is to hope that there wont be a need to add any more names to a list that has already grown too long.
Oakland Police Department Memorial Wall – Provides information and photos on all Oakland police officers who have died in the line of duty.
*A link was later made hinting that the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was responsible for the shooting.
**Number also includes Off. Timothy Howe who served with the Oakland School District Police when he was killed in the line of duty in 1995.