Those who knew, loved and worked with Harminder Grewal gathered on Sept. 13 to give a final send-off to the fallen Galt police officer.
The memorial service, held at Bayside Church’s Adventure Campus in Roseville, brought eulogies filled with fond memories from friends, family and colleagues. A procession from Roseville to Lodi, by way of Galt, gave members of the public a chance to pay their last respects. The public events were followed by a private funeral for family members.
Grewal’s professional accomplishments and contributions to the Galt Police Department figured strongly in speeches from the department’s leaders
Grewal was the department’s first Sikh officer when he joined in 2019. In his first full year on the force, he was named 2020 officer of the year and received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Award for his number of DUI arrests. He served as the treasurer of the Galt Police Officers Association.
With an enthusiasm for jokes, Grewal created a “Wall of Morale” in the department, GPOA president Michael Little told the attendees, and there he posted photos and memes about department goings-on.
Grewal was also a “genuinely human” man who loved his adopted country and would go out of his way to help others, Little said.
It was on Aug. 22, as Grewal and fellow officer Kapri Herrera were driving to help those affected by the Caldor fire, that their vehicle was struck head-on by a truck. Grewal died of his injuries on Aug. 27. He was 27 years old.
Herrera, who is still recovering from her injuries, was released from the hospital on Sept. 3 and attended the memorial service.
Galt Interim Police Chief Richard Small had words of gratitude for Grewal’s family, Herrera and the Galt police staff. Then Small addressed Grewal himself.
“To officer Grewal, there are no words adequate to describe our sense of loss or to express how much we miss you,” Small said. “There are no words to describe our thankfulness for the time that we had with you, but we will continue to tell your story.”
The memorial service revealed what Grewal had meant as a brother and as a representative of the Sikh community.
Navdeep Sidhu, Grewal’s sister, remembered the officer as a child. She recalled their sibling bond – sometimes they fought each other, and sometimes they protected each other. She remembered carrying his backpack for him on the way to school, which the two sometimes skipped.
As much as Grewal may have disliked school as a boy, he went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree and was close to completing it when he died.
The aspiration to become a police officer came to Grewal early, Sidhu said, at 7 or 8 years old. When the family came to the United States in 2012, he was able to fulfill that goal.
Galt Vice Mayor Paul Sandhu said Grewal embodied the principles of his faith and his vocation.
“He was (the) essence of both what the Sikh faith stands for and what the police officer is, which is ‘seva,’ known as selfless service to the community,” Sandhu said.
“He took great pride in serving our community and was always ready to help wherever needed,” Sandhu added later. “We will never forget officer Grewal, his selfless service, his sacrifice and his family’s sacrifice.”