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West Covina Police Department
Saturday December 9th, 2017 :: 09:14 a.m. PST


West Covina PD to dedicate Traffic Office to honor Officer Frederik Ham killed in the line of duty Dec 9, 1940

Date of release: December 9, 2017

Today, December 9th marks the 77th anniversary of the death of West Covina Officer Frederik Ham. Officer Ham was killed as a result of a traffic collision while pursuing a violator on his police motorcycle. Officer Ham was one of West Covina Police Department's first officers (hired in 1938) and was assigned badge "Motor Officer 2".

To honor and in remembrance of Officer Frederik Ham, all West Covina Police Personnel will be wearing a black band over their metal badge from December 9, 2017, at 0600 to December 10, 2017, at 0600 hours. This will serve as a reminder to our community and the department of the ultimate sacrifice made by Officer Ham. A street sign with his name on it has also been erected in the area of the accident in his honor.

Continuing with the belief that “the West Covina Police Department will never forget our fallen officers”, Police Chief Marc Taylor has directed his Police Staff to move forward with dedicating and renaming the Police Department Traffic Office to honor Officer Frederik Ham. To coincide with the 77th anniversary of his death, the dedication will take place at 9:00 AM on Monday, December 11th, 2017 in the Police Department Assembly Room, 1444 W. Garvey Avenue, West Covina, CA 91790.

Members of the media are invited to attend.

On Monday, December 9, 1940, Officer Ham was patrolling Holt-Garvey Avenue (now the Interstate 10 freeway) on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. At approximately 1745 hours, Officer Ham attempted to stop a speeding vehicle on Holt-Garvey Avenue. While pursuing the vehicle, Officer Ham collided with another vehicle at Francisquito Avenue. Officer Ham was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries at approximately 1815 hours. The driver of the speeding vehicle was never apprehended.

Officer Fred “Iron Man” Ham was born in Naarden, Netherlands, on June 22, 1908. He attended the University of Holland and briefly lived in South Africa before moving to the United States in 1930. Officer Ham settled in Southern California and immediately took up motorcycle riding as a member of the Pasadena Motorcycle Club. Officer Ham was best known as a record-breaking long distance motorcycle rider of the 1930s. In 1936, Officer Ham set the Three-Flag Record (riding from Canada to Mexico in just over 28 hours). A year later, Officer Ham set a 24-hour solo record of 1,825 miles on the Muroc Dry Lake (now part of Edwards Air Force Base). He also set 43 other speed and distance records during this same feat. This accomplishment actually spurred sales of Harley-Davidson's newly designed EL-model, better known as the Knucklehead, and helped the company break out of the depression sales slump. The engine that set the record was put on display at Graves' Harley-Davidson shop before it was shipped to Harley-Davidson. Officer Ham became known nationwide for this record. Through his motorcycle endeavors, he earned the nickname of “Iron Man.” Along with his extraordinary feats of endurance on motorcycles, Officer Ham will be remembered for his service and dedication to the City of West Covina. He was hired by the West Covina Police Department as one of the first police officers in 1938, where he served as a motor officer until his passing. Officer Ham was also a teacher at Covina Presbyterian Church, a member of the Masonic Lodge, a leader of the Sea Scouts, and an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America.

He was laid to rest at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. Officer Ham was posthumously inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000 for his contributions to motorcycle riding.

WCPD Motor Badge #2
Date of Birth: June 22nd 1908
WCPD Hire Date: January 1st 1938
End of Watch: December 9th 1940

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Information released by:
West Covina Police Department
Public Information Officer Rudy Lopez
1444 West Garvey Avenue
West Covina, CA 91790
626 939-8500

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West Covina Police Department
1444 W. Garvey Ave.
West Covina, CA 91791

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 626-939-8500

1444 W Garvey Ave S
West Covina, CA 91790

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