A ten-year veteran officer of the Santa Monica Police Department — who was serving his second tour of duty as a U.S. Marine in the Iraq War — was killed in combat Thursday, May 26th.
Ricardo “Rick” A. Crocker, 39, died at 6:45 a.m. Pacific Standard Time when he was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade during fighting in the province of Al-Anbar, Iraq.
Crocker, a Torrance resident, was identified by his dog tags and the name badge on his uniform.
The soldier had served for over a year as a Marine Corps reservist in his first tour of duty in Iraq, and after returning home, he was redeployed.
As a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, Crocker was hired by the Santa Monica Police Department in July 1995, and he had since been promoted to the rank of major in the Marines.
Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. said Crocker, who was a patrol and field training officer, represented the “highest standards and traditions of law enforcement and this department.”
“He was an excellent Santa Monica Police officer and ambassador and protector of the community,” Butts said in a statement.
“He will be missed by all of us.”
Crocker’s last assignment with the Santa Monica police was with the city Police Activities League (PAL), where he was an outstanding role model and mentor for the youths of Santa Monica, said Patty Loggins-Tazi, PAL director.
“He was extremely energizing to be around,” she said. “He was bright and fun and down to earth.
“It’s such a profound loss for us personally and a big loss for the community.”
Crocker worked with the Police Activities League for about two years before leaving the program in January 2004 for service in Iraq. The Police Activities League is a citywide program that offers free educational, cultural and athletic activities to Santa Monica children six to 17 years old.
During his service with the Police Activities League, Crocker supervised enrichment classes, taught standardized testing preparation classes, and worked with children in the computer lab.
As someone who loved the ocean and outdoors, Crocker also helped lead the PAL camping program and took children on hiking trips, including Yosemite National Park, Loggins-Tazi said.
Crocker, who was “a kid at heart,” had a very special relationship with the youths who participated in the Santa Monica PAL, especially those who were preparing for college, she said.
Butts also said that Crocker was “admired and loved” by almost everyone who had the opportunity to know him.
“The City of Santa Monica has lost a great guardian and role model,” he said.
Crocker was single and had no children. He is survived by his mother, Jeanette; father, Curtis; sisters, Marisa and Maria; and brother, Carlos.
Crocker’s remains were transported from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to Santa Monica Tuesday, May 31st.
A funeral mass for Crocker is scheduled to be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 2nd, at St. Monica Catholic Church, 725 California Ave., Santa Monica.
The burial service is scheduled to be held at the Puerto Rico National Cemetery at a time and date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Santa Monica Police Activities League, c/o the Santa Monica Police Department, 333 W. Olympic Drive, Santa Monica, CA 90401.