Community Honors Fallen Deputy with Blue Light Bulbs

SACRAMENTO -- Walking down an Arden-Arcade street in 100 degree heat, Robert Milward is taking steps he hopes will change Sacramento's future.

"I have, I went out and bought a bunch of light bulbs, blue light bulbs to show our respect for the fallen officers," he told a neighbor he caught on as she left her house.

"Nice," she says, taking the bulb from him and promising to put it up on her porch.

The fallen he feels compelled to honor with the simple gesture of a blue porch light are the two CHP officers wounded and one Sacramento County sheriff's deputy shot to death Wednesday.

It all happened as a suspect in a car theft ring fired through the door and off the balcony of a room at a Ramada Inn in the Arden-Arcade area.

Deputy Robert French, a 21-year veteran of the force, was killed as bullets flew from an assault rifle investigators say was manned by Thomas Daniel Little Cloud of Castro Valley.

Milward's thought as he realized what crime was connected to the sirens blasting his neighborhood?

"Sadness, you know, one of sadness, one of, I just can't believe what human beings can do," he said.

That sadness and disbelief is being felt especially by those who worked with French and were friends with him for decades, like sheriff's Captain Kris Palmer.

"Very difficult time for us. Very difficult time for the community," said Palmer.

"One thing I told the briefing when we went out this morning, a lot of them are his co-workers, filling in today. Do it like he did it. 100 percent. Courage. And go out and give 'em everything you have today," Palmer said.

For Milward, giving everything is about changing the violent attitude he sees increasing toward police out on the streets.

Those choosing to put up these bulbs are hoping to light a new path of understanding.

"I feel like our country's a little divided, and everybody's looking for someone to blame. Everybody's looking for somebody to blame, but it's everybody's fault -- not one person or one situation.  It's everybody's fault," said Joyce Russell.

"I don't think people are being taught to respect each other," she said.

Milward bought out Emigh Hardware's supply of blue light bulbs so he could hand them out free of charge to anyone who wants one.

If you missed joining in on the first night of the porch light campaign and would like to get a free bulb, you can pick one up at Milward's office Friday, Intero Real Estate at the corner of Watt & Pope avenues.