Tracy, CA – Stockton Unified School District Police Department (SUSDPD) Officer Elmer Palacios Cruz died on Aug. 20, following a lengthy battle with cancer.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Officer Elmer Palacios Cruz,” the department said in Facebook post on Aug. 27. “Officer Cruz passed away from a long term illness.”
The 27-year-old Tracy native graduated from the San Joaquin Delta College Police Academy with a degree in administration of justice in August of 2014, according to The Record.
Less than a year later, he was hired by the Escalon Police Department (EPD), where he served for two years.
Officer Cruz was hand-selected for recruitment to the SUSDPD by officers he worked with at EPD who subsequently went to work for the school district, Stockton Unified School District Police Chief Anne Johnston told The Record.
“[They] recruited him because of his positive demeanor, integrity and character, strong desire for public service and suitability for serving as a role model for students,” Chief Johnston said.
Officer Cruz joined the SUSDPD in January of 2018.
Later that year, he was diagnosed with cancer.
“His life goal was to be a police officer — it’s all he ever talked about and couldn’t wait to return to work after his diagnosis with cancer last year,” Chief Johnston told The Record. “He was hugely supported by our district, Police Department, community, and law enforcement agencies statewide.”
Officer Cruz leaves behind his parents and sister.
“He was a loving son, brother, and friend who dedicated his life to serving others,” his department said. “He will be deeply missed. Please keep his family in your thoughts.”
“Thank you Officer Cruz for your dedication and service,” the SUSDPD’s post read.
Officer Cruz was laid to rest on Aug. 30.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Stockton Unified School District Police Department Officer Elmer Palacios Cruz, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.