On July 12, at the regular Yucaipa City Council meeting, an unanimous vote for a plaque of recognition to be placed on a boulder on the city’s Honor Walk, for Sgt. Dominic Vaca was approved. Mayor Greg Bogh was absent.
City Manager Ray Casey said, “The city council asked to direct the staff to install a bronze plaque with language proposed by staff on a boulder on the honor walk, near the police station, in front of city hall to honor Sgt. Dominic Vaca.”
Vaca, 43, a 17-year veteran of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Army veteran lost his life while protecting the public of San Bernardino County on May 31, in Yucca Valley.
Vaca was one of the deputies that was conducting enforcement operations for off-highway vehicle violations when a motorcycle stop was being conducted due to having no license plate. The motorcyclist tried to avoid officers during a high-speed chase and consequently abandoned the motorcycle to set up an ambush for the responding deputies. As the deputies approached the motorcycle, the subject opened fire, fatally wounding Vaca. The other deputies returned fire and killed the subject.
A Yucaipa resident, Vaca leaves behind his wife and two daughters. “Dominic was a dedicated sergeant and a wonderful partner. He cared deeply about his work and the people he served,” said Sergeant Grant Ward, President of the Sheriff’s Employees Benefit Association.
Councilman Justin Beaver said, “Sgt. Vaca was a resident of our great city.”
Beaver went on to say, “He was my partner in Loma Linda. He took me under his wing and taught me all I needed to know about residential life of desert patrol and patrol at Valley Station. I know of several occasions Sgt. Vaca volunteered to come to Yucaipa and work our detail. Although he was not assigned to Yucaipa at the time of this tragedy, he most definitely laid his life on the line time and time again in defense of our peace and law and order of our city. With that I enthusiastically motion to move this forward.”
Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Duncan said, “It is the very very least we can do to honor this man.”
Duncan continued with, “This man had a family and it didn’t get a whole lot of media coverage. We all know if the circumstances had been different that depending on whose agenda we were dealing with, that it would have gotten a lot of media coverage. It absolutely makes me sick to my stomach that this man’s life was taken and it is sad to me that our state government is letting people out of jail and not incarcerating them longer and trying to rehabilitate them. We’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to the state of California. The police department that we have and the law enforcement in the state of California should be honored at any and every level as far as I’m concerned. This is the very least we can do. I respect our police officers and our first responders and I wish there was more that we could do. In honor of Sgt. Vaca, I say thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The manufacturing and installation cost of the bronze plaque is approximately $2,000. Adequate funding is available in the public works operating budget for this project and donors are also being sought for the cost.
A ceremony for the installation and recognition of Vaca will be conducted in the near future.
The item was moved unanimously with Mayor Greg Bogh absent.