Monday, May 24, 2010

Officer Patricia R. Calderon

Officer Patricia R. Calderon - Hawkins
San Antonio Police Department, TX
Cause of Death: Drowned
End of Watch: Tuesday, December 27, 1988
Date of Incident: Tuesday, December 27, 1988
Age: 27
Badge Number: 213
Tour of Duty: 5 yr
Suspect Info: Not available
Weapon Used: N/A
Buried: Sunset Memorial
Location of Name on National and Texas Monuments
NLEOMF: P12 - E2
TPOM: 17, C, 13

Officer Calderon drowned when she fell into Salado Creek while chasing a suspect thief through thick brush at 2:00 am. At 1:51 am, Officer Calderon responded to a radio dispatch of two males who had stolen eleven packs of cigarettes from a Circle K convenience store located at 4401 Rittiman Road. The clerk called police with a description of the vehicle, after the two men departed. Officer Calderon radioed that she spotted the vehicle as it turned onto southbound I H 35 from Rittiman Road. She advised dispatch, she would follow the vehicle and pulled it over once back up arrived. Officer Lohrke and Officer Heitzman arrived in separate units as cover. Office Calderon stopped the vehicle near I-10 west and E. Houston Street. Officer Calderon asked the driver to get out of the vehicle and found the stolen cigarettes in the vehicle. The passenger Louis (Popeye) B. Miller Jr. 28, also exited the vehicle and ran as Officer Calderon began a foot chase through the Point East Apartments at 3735 E. Commerce and then down into the thick brush of Salado Creek. Miller jumped into Salado Creek as Officer Calderon jumped into the creek after him. Other officers arrived to search for Officer Calderon and Miller. Officer Calderon's last radio transmission was at 2:15 am "he's taking off his jacket." Officers near Officer Calderon could hear splash and her scream for help and then only silence. Several officers could not find her in the darkness and many dove in the murky water to find her but were unable to. Four hours later a volunteer dive team of five located her body. Miller swam out of the creek and escaped. There was no evidence he "contributed" to Officer Calderon’s death other than by leading her on the chase. Miller was arrested later that day and charged with Theft (misdemeanor) and misdemeanor Evading. At the time there was no law that allowed a charge against Miller for the death that resulted from a chase of a misdemeanor. The loophole allowed Miller to escape responsibility for Officer Calderon's death. Senator Frank Tejeda changed this by sponsoring a bill named the "Endangering Law Enforcement Officers Law" also known as the "Calderon Law" making it a Third Degree felony if an officer is killed in result of injuries from a pursuit. The bill became law and has been used since on several cases.

Officer Calderon graduated from Harlandale High School in 1981. She was a member of the school band and Captain of the Flag Team and a Student Council representative.
She joined the San Antonio Police Department in 1983. She married a fellow San Antonio officer in 1986. ------ Information from True Heroines: police women killed in the line of duty through out the United States, San Antonio Express News, and San Antonio Light

Officer Calderon was the first female officer from her agency and Bexar County area to die in the line of duty. She was survived by her husband, 10 month old son, parents, brothers and sister.

Officer Calderon's younger brother Rogelio "Roger" Calderon III, served with Bexar County Sheriff's Office as a Deputy. He was shot and killed at his apartment by his soon to be ex-wife, who then killed herself. Deputy Calderon was entombed with his sister Officer Calderon.

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