Officers with the California Highway Patrol in the Tri-Valley gathered last week to recognize a solemn anniversary alongside surviving family members of one of their own who died on duty 15 years ago.
Officer John P. Miller, a Lodi resident and married father with two young children, was killed in a car crash while en route to pursue a suspected drunk driver in Livermore on the night of Nov. 16, 2007. He was 32.
Flowers laid at the base of the memorial honoring Miller outside the CHP-Dublin Area Office, and CHP personnel saluted as the flags there were raised in a ceremony on the anniversary of their colleague's death.
"It's personally a privilege to participate in a ceremony that honors Officer John Miller and his family. Our lives are richer because we have mourned and honored John together these past 15 years," said Capt. Christopher Sherry, commander of the CHP's Dublin office.
"I'm proud of John's wife and his children for their resilience and for their dedication in not only remembering John, but for supporting so many other mourning families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty," Sherry told the Weekly.
Miller, who had been on the force for just under a year after graduating the CHP Academy, was responding to call about a police pursuit of a DUI suspect when he lost control of his patrol car at a curve on North Livermore Avenue about a mile north of Interstate 580, according to his memorial on the CHP and union webpages.
After Miller didn't answer radio or cellphone calls, officers rushed to his last known location and found his car wrapped around a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Officer Miller tragically died while serving our community," Sherry said. "Fifteen years ago, the California Highway Patrol made a promise to his family and community that we would not forget him or his heroic act. This flag-raising ceremony is a fulfillment of that promise."
"Peace officers take an oath to serve and knowingly put themselves in harm's way to protect others," the commander added. "It's an honor to publicly recognize our fallen heroes and for the community to see that safety does sometimes come at a cost."
The stretch of I-580 from Airway Boulevard to North Flynn Road in Livermore was designated in 2009 as the "CHP Officer John P. Miller Memorial Highway" in his honor.