In Memory of Ronald Tsukamoto & Jimmie Rutledge
Since its creation, the Berkeley Police Department has lost two of its own in the line of duty. This page is dedicated as a remembrance of our fallen heroes. "They are gone... But never forgotten"
Ronald T. Tsukamoto Jimmie H. Rutledge
Patrol Officer, Badge #41 Sergeant, Badge #S-15
Date of Birth: July 29, 1942 Date of Birth: November 21, 1923
Appointed: October 1, 1969 Appointed: November 16, 1950
End of Watch: August 20, 1970 End of Watch: June 16, 1973
Officer Ronald Tsukamoto was born in Tule Lake, California. His family later moved to West Berkeley. Officer Tsukamoto attended local schools and graduated from Berkeley High School in 1960. Officer Tsukamoto then attended college at Oakland City College, Contra Costa Jr. College and San Jose State University.
Officer Tsukamoto was the first Japanese-American Police Officer hired by the City of Berkeley and was appointed on October 1, 1969. After Officer Tsukamoto's death, a scholarship fund was started in his name. The Ronald T. Tsukamoto Fund provides college scholarships to local youth with an interest in law enforcement related careers. For more information on the Ronald T. Tsukamoto Fund, contact Officer Tracie Lui
At 12:53 a.m., Officer Tsukamoto stopped a motorist for a traffic violation on University Avenue, west of McGee. Officer Tsukamoto decided not to issue a citation to the motorist and struck up a conversation with him. During this, a black male walked up to the pair and spoke with Officer Tsukamoto and the motorist. Without provocation, the male drew a gun and shot Officer Tsukamoto, fatally wounding him. The subject fled to a waiting automobile and this case remains unsolved. Officer Tsukamoto is buried at Sunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito, California. If you have information regarding the murder of Officer Ronald Tsukamoto, call the Berkeley Police Homicide Detail at: (510) 981-5741
Sergeant Jimmie Rutledge was born in Oakland, California. He attended local schools and graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1942. He later attended both the City College of San Francisco and the University of California at Berkeley. Sergeant Rutledge enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was honorably discharged in 1948 at the rank of Radioman 1st Class. He was later recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served overseas from 1951 to 1952. Sergeant Rutledge was appointed to the department as a Patrolman-Clerk assigned badge #94. On December 1, 1972 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and assigned Badge #S-15
During his tenure with the Berkeley Police Department, Sergeant Rutledge held positions in Patrol Division, Service Division, the Patrol Special Detail and Juvenile Bureau. In addition he was also a department Range Master. Sergeant Rutledge was involved in several youth programs, including Sea Scouts. After his death the local Boy Scout Council named a Sea Scout Vessel the "Jimmie Rutledge" in his honor.
At 5:23 a.m., Officers were dispatched to the 2200 block of Russell Street on a report of a prowler. Initially officers were unable to locate the prowler and Sergeant Rutledge remained in the area to watch for the suspect. Sergeant Rutledge subsequently contacted an individual and attempted an arrest on his own. The subject, later found to be an ex-felon, resisted handcuffing and a struggle ensued. During the fight, the suspect gained control of Sergeant Rutledge's gun and shot the officer, fatally wounding him. The suspect also wounded a neighbor who had come to render assistance to Sergeant Rutledge. Following the shooting, the suspect forced his way into an acquaintance's home and took several hostages. At the conclusion of the standoff, the suspect killed one of the hostages, a 4-year old girl. The suspect then chased the remaining hostages from the house with gun in hand and was killed by police. Officer Rutledge is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California.
The California Peace Officer Memorial is dedicated to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving to protect the people of the State of California.