Santa Paula Times

Mourning: A memorial in the Santa Paula Police Department Lobby has been created to remember Officer Kimberly Hemminger (inset photo), killed Sunday in a vehicle rollover on South Mountain Lookout Road.

Loved family, animals: Services Monday for SPPD Officer Kimberley Hemminger

July 27, 2012
Santa Paula News

A Memorial Service will be held Monday for Kimberly Ann Hemminger, an animal lover, dedicated Santa Paula Police Officer, equestrian and woman who held her family close. Hemminger, 33, of Oxnard, was killed Sunday, July 22, when the Jeep Wrangler she was riding in overturned at about 9:15 p.m. on South Mountain Lookout Road.

Hemminger’s death has been a terrible blow to not only her family — she was described as being incredibly close to her mother, Sharon who Hemminger bought a house next door to — but also to the Santa Paula Police Department. “It’s amazing how people have come together” to support Hemminger’s family and the SPPD, said Reserve Lt. Brad Tallent. “I can’t begin to tell you how many people have called from all over the law enforcement community” offering support, “and of course our own officers” and other SPPD personnel all asking how they can help.

The Hemminger family, said Tallent, is “very private and very close… Kim bought the house next door” to her mother and father Wallace, and lived there with her brother Jason and his wife Katie. “Kim and her mother were very close… they talked all the time,” and Tallent said when he spoke to her he was surprised that “She knew all about the SPPD, her training, her duty, her friends… she was very familiar with Kim’s duties, she knew everything! To say Kim’s mother and family were very proud of her would be an understatement.”

A friend as well as a fellow officer, Tallent said Hemminger was “very calm, a good police officer with great problem solving skills who was very well liked by her fellow officers. “Kim had a calm approach to dealing with situations, a great attribute for an officer.”

Interim Chief Ishmael Cordero said Hemminger was “a very respectful woman, very professional in her job,” with interest in many areas of policing as well as those she dealt with. “You could tell,” he noted, “she cared about the people she came into contact with.”

And with her career: “She was excited” about attending crime scene evidence training and showed her enthusiasm for the assignment when called out by Cordero when he was supervising investigations. “Kim was excited about that kind of work, she even went out and bought part of her equipment to ensure she would have the necessary tools for the detail.”

And she loved being a Mounted Officer with her horse partner — and loving companion — Scooby. When Lt. Troyce Reynolds - who had been in charge of the SPPD Mounted Unit - retired, Cordero said Hemminger told him all about the duty, which also included participation in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Mounted Unit. “I told her you are in charge of the SPPD unit… she was all excited about it,” including potentially new duty including patrolling the Bike Trail with Reserve Officer Phil Sylvester, also a unit member.

Cordero said he urged Hemminger to make the unit more visible and become more involved in community events, “do public relations….  Kim had her horse at the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation Mixer last week, she was going to get Scooby certified and was ecstatic about that. She was trying to recruit other SPPD officers with horses to join the unit.”

Hemminger was about to attend a class on the particular challenges for females in law enforcement as well, and was looking forward to joining the SPPD Special Response Team (SRT) as a sniper. Cordero said Hemminger “was adamant she was going to make SRT and her training was going well.... She had that motivational factor” in all she approached, including paying for her own training. 

A native of Oxnard, Hemminger was born March 2, 1979. She knew early on that she would live her dream of becoming a police officer: she obtained an A.S. degree in Criminal Justice, but since age 19 she worked with the VCSD and the Ventura County Probation Department at Juvenile Hall.

She had an obsession for shoes, especially designer models, and was a passionate and accomplished photographer who with Scooby considered her dog “Cammie” her other “baby.” Many aunts, uncles, cousins, co-workers and friends also survive her.

A memorial service, with full law enforcement honors, will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, July 30, at the Church of Christ, 276 Santa Paula St. Santa Paula. A reception will follow.

Tallent said Hemminger’s horse, Scooby, will also be attendance, as will as SPPD Officers, personnel and volunteers. SPPD Officer Walter Harper will officiate at the Memorial Service.

“Kim served as a VCSD Reserve at the Humane Shelter,” said Tallent, and the family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations may be made, in Kim Hemminger’s name, to the Humane Society of Ventura Co. 402 Bryant St. Ojai, CA 93023. Phone (805) 646-6505.