Heavy Hearts as Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Mourns Deputy Killed in Crash

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MODESTO -- Fate has not been so kind to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. In the last six years, the organization has lost five members in the line of duty. Tuesday, they bid farewell to Deputy Jason Garner.

"It's difficult to explain, but like any law enforcement organization, you have to find the words and strength to inspire your team, to motivate them and reassure them that we will be OK," said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson.

Garner and his passenger, Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson, were responding to a burglary call in Modesto on May 13. That morning they were involved in a crash that killed them both.

The news hit Garner's former partner, and now public information officer, Deputy Raj Singh, hard.

"It gets emotional as far as thinking, our friend is gone. Our partner is gone," Singh said.

Garner was a nine-year veteran of the department. As a field training officer he was responsible for developing the new generation of deputies.

"When you're new on the streets, someone like Jason ... You have his number on speed dial when you have questions and concerns when you're on a call for service," Singh said.

"The need for field training officers and individuals who understand how important it is to protect the public's trust and confidence in us, it's important to have them. And the loss is just immeasurable," Christianson said.

Singh said Garner was more than a friend and a mentor. He was a study buddy that led him to success.

"I recently got tested for a promotion within the department, and he had some experience in the testing process, so we talked frequently. He would say, 'Hey study this.' or 'Know about this.' 'Practice this scenario.' So just that guidance, he was like a brother," Singh said.

A brother who shared the love of public service. The first and most important person he called to break the news.

"As I found out the results, I'm like, 'Hey, Jason, I did good, man. I made the list!' And so that's something I will cherish. If I do get promoted, I will be able to look at him and say 'Thanks. Thank you for your support and guidance in that process,'" Singh said.

Garner was 41 years old. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

A memorial service for Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson will be held Wednesday at House Church in Modesto at 10 a.m.