SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Ricardo "Rick" Crocker is a name not forgotten in Santa Monica.
He was an Santa Monica Police officer and a U.S. Marine who served in the Iraq War. Crocker was tragically killed in 2005. Ahead of Memorial Day, a 5k run/walk was held in his honor at the Santa Monica Pier.
Crocker's picture was front and center on the t-shirts of 5k runners. This was the 17th anniversary of his death. A Marine band performed. The chief of the Santa Monica PD Ramon Batista addressed the crowd of about 100 runners.
The event was sponsored by the Police Activities League (PAL). Crocker had been a PAL officer and is remembered as "a mentor to vulnerable youth."
James Butts, former SMPD Chief turned Inglewood Mayor, was on hand. He had hired Crocker and said "I loved the guy."
Current chief Batista cited the success of the PAL program in working with vulnerable kids in the community by providing programs. He noted some youth has gone on to work for the city.
The Pier event not only paid tribute to Officer Crocker but also served as a reminder of the meaning of Memorial Day. It kicked off the Memorial Day weekend and Fleet Week taking place across Southern California.