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Fallen officer, Ex-Padre Dan Walters added to SDPD memorial

SAN DIEGO — A former San Diego police officer and ex-Padres captor was honored Tuesday in a ceremony where his name was added as the 34th to the memorial to fallen officers downtown.

Former San Diego Padres police officer and catcher Dan Walters is honored during the game with the Los Angeles Dodgers September 21, 2004 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. Walters’ baseball career was cut short in 1996 when he sustained a serious spinal injury while jumping for a ball while practicing jumping. Walters later became a police officer and was shot dead in a firefight on November 12, 2003, suffering further injuries when a passing car hit him after being shot. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Dan Walters was injured in an on-duty shooting in 2003 while he and his partner were assisting in a traffic stop for a domestic violence suspect in Southcrest. That night he was hit with gunfire in the neck and then struck by a passing vehicle, crushing two vertebrae in his neck.

The result left Walters paralyzed from the neck down, and although he regained some upper body movement in rehabilitation, he was wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.

He died in April 2020 at the age of 53 as a result of the injury.

“Today we honor the sacrifice that Officer Walters made in his community,” said San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. “His name has been added to the National (Law Enforcement Officers) Memorial Wall in Washington DC, the State Memorial in Sacramento, the County Memorial in Waterfront Park and now here at our San Diego Police Department Memorial.”

Walters took an unusual route to the department. He graduated from Santana High School in Santee and was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1984 amateur draft. He later returned to the Padres in San Diego in a trade in 1988, playing parts of two seasons for the Big League club in 1992 and 1993.

In 84 total games for the Padres, Walters had a .234/.281/.348 slash line with five homers, 32 RBIs, 14 doubles and a stolen base. His career ended in 1996 with the Edmonton Trappers of the Pacific Coast League.

He joined the SDPD in 1998, where he was an active member of the force until he was wounded in 2003.

Walters was commemorated more than a year after his death at a memorial service in El Cajon. On the same day, he was also honored by the Padres, who paid tribute to him before a game against the Miami Marlins.

Walters’ name was unveiled on the memorial after the names of all SDPD officers were read on the wall, the earliest of which was Patrolman Emery E. Campbell, whose end of watch duty is August 27, 1913. Last week he, too, was added to the Regional Law Enforcement Memorial, which honors law enforcement officers across San Diego County.

Speaking of the officers honored on the downtown memorial, Nisleit said their losses were ultimately “felt many years after their deaths.”

“A child grows up without a father or mother,” he said. “A parent is forced to bury a son or daughter. A woman is made a widow. A husband becomes a widower.

“We pledge to the family of a fallen officer that the sacrifice of their loved one will never be forgotten.”

The City News Service contributed to this report.

https://fox5sandiego.com/news/local-news/fallen-officer-ex-padre-dan-walters-added-to-sdpd-memorial/ Fallen officer, Ex-Padre Dan Walters added to SDPD memorial

Sarah Y. Kim

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