Sacramento rookie officer death hits home for law enforcement

The shooting death of a Sacramento rookie police officer Wednesday night is hitting home for law enforcement agencies throughout the state. The San Jose Police chief had a sobering message Thursday for new recruits at the academy.  

As 53 recruits lined up ready for the first day of San Jose Police’s latest academy, Chief Eddie Garcia had a more somber welcome than in years past.

“It was something on the mind of every police officer in the state today,” said Chief Garcia. “This is not just fun and games. There's a harsh reality to this profession.”

The night before, 125 miles north in Sacramento, police officer Tara O’Sullivan was helping a woman following a domestic dispute when a man inside the home shot and killed her. O’Sullivan was just 26 years old and had graduated from the academy in December. 

Six months prior, just five months into the job, 22-year-old officer Natalie Corona was killed in Davis during a traffic stop.

“I would say a deep pain in my heart, just extremely sad,” said Officer Jessica Lindenberg of San Jose Police. 

Born and raised in South Africa, Officer Jessica Lindenberg graduated from San Jose’s Police Academy around the same time O’Sullivan graduated in Sacramento. The 28-year-old responds to similar domestic calls. The first thing she did after hearing the news was call her dad.

“He’s very protective,” said Lindenberg. “His only daughter is in this line of work. After I called him he sent me a text message just be safe tonight.”

Officer Dionna Grant came from Florida six months working patrol for San Jose Police. She said more female officers are entering the profession in more violent times. She calls O’Sullivan a hero.

“Because she became the victim of the ultimate sacrifice,” said Officer Grant. “She decided to protect a family and she was taken from us.”

“The Sacramento Police is going through it right now,” said Chief Garcia. “They have a fallen officer. Then they have to have officers going out on the streets today.”

In his pep talk, Chief Garcia told recruits even in tragedy, they suit up with a job to do. He hopes to make O’Sullivan proud. 

“Today we will go out there today to get guns off the streets, criminals off the street and put smiles on communities faces,” said Chief Garcia. “Why? Because that's what we do.”