Capt. Nathaniel Arnold, DFG Law Enforcement, (559) 243-4005, ext. 136
Warden Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 651-2084
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988
A California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) warden who died in the line of duty in 1959 is finally receiving the recognition he deserves. Thanks to the efforts of a captain and several staff members in DFG’s Fresno office, Warden Clarence Lester Brown is being honored alongside other fallen California peace officers at two separate services at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, and the Peace Officers Memorial in Fresno. His name will also be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.
The 60-year-old game warden, who had worked for DFG for 32 years, was killed in a vehicle accident while on patrol on April 3, 1959. At about 9 p.m., he lost control of his patrol vehicle and plunged to the bottom of a canyon about six miles west of Coalinga on Highway 198. Warden Brown was survived by his wife and two children.
For decades, Warden Brown’s story was lost to history. In May 2010, when staff at DFG’s Fresno offices began an extensive purge of old archived files, an employee found a report detailing Warden Brown’s accident. She gave the file to Capt. Nathaniel Arnold, who realized that the warden’s name was not among those previously known to the Law Enforcement Division as having been killed in the line of duty. When an investigation concluded that Warden Brown had not been properly recognized as a peace officer killed in the line of duty, Capt. Arnold took the necessary steps to formally honor the warden’s sacrifice.
“This has been one of the most fulfilling cases I have had the pleasure of working on and overseeing in my career with the Department,” said Capt. Arnold. “It is time to recognize a fallen officer whose story has been lost for nearly 51 years.”
Two of Warden Brown’s grandsons, their wives and one great-granddaughter were present in Sacramento on May 2 as Warden Brown became the twenty-first California Game Warden immortalized as a peace officer killed in the line of duty. His name will be added to the honor roll at the California Peace Officers Memorial on Capitol Mall. Warden Brown’s name will also be added to the Fresno County Peace Officers Memorial at a service on May 3, and in the coming weeks, he will be honored at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.
“These brave wardens and their families can never be repaid for their sacrifice, but they will also never be forgotten,” said Nancy Foley, Chief of the DFG Law Enforcement Division.