Chandler honors the fallen in 1st post-COVID gathering - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler honors the fallen in 1st post-COVID gathering

May 8th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler honors the fallen in 1st post-COVID gathering

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

It has been three years since the Chandler police community could gather to remember their fallen officers and in the time the pandemic prevented an in-person ceremony from being held, the city added three more names to the list – including three just last year.

“Today we remember, and honor those that remind us these accolades come with a price,” Mayor Kevin Hartke said at the revived public ceremony, pointing out how Chandler is one of the most livable cities in the country because of how safe it is.

“Today we’re here to honor the memory of nine Chandler police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice over the years. This year, we lost three more.”

The Fallen Officer Memorial Ceremony was held May 2 at the Public Safety Memorial Plaza in downtown Chandler and the three men added to the list are Officers Tyler Britt, Christopher Farrar and Jeremy Wilkins.

The 50-year-old Farrar died on April 30. 2021, after being struck by a stolen vehicle during a police chase. Suspect Jonathon Altland had led Pinal County deputies on a chase that began near Eloy and ended at a car dealership at Loop 202 and Val Vista.

Altland allegedly stole a car at the dealership and then tried to flee, striking two officers before he was shot and wounded by other officers.

Farrar died later at a hospital, the other officer, Gilbert Officer Rico Aranda, was seriously injured. Altland faces 32 charges for the incident, including first-degree murder and prosecutors will seek the death penalty if he is convicted.

Farrar had been with the department for 18 years. He was not scheduled to work that day but was filling in because of absences. He is survived by his children and grandchildren.

Britt, 48, was a 20-year-veteran of the Chandler Police Department and died Jan. 11, 2021, after catching COVID-19 while performing his duties. He died after a protracted battle from complications of the virus, leaving his widow and son.

In December, it happened again when Wilkins, 46, died after his battle with COVID-19. He had been with the department for 23 years and is survived by his widow and five children. He had been exposed to the virus while serving an arrest warrant.

The three Chandler officers are among the 13 law enforcement agents in Arizona whose watch came to an end last year.

“This is the first service we’ve held in person since 2019, and unfortunately our department, our community suffered three additional losses since we last met,” said Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan. “All tragic and poignant reminders of the dangers inherit in being a police officer today.”