Fallen police officer’s love for law enforcement was bred in Roseville

Galt PD’s Kevin Tonn spent teenage years as a local police explorer
By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
-A +A

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies across the region are mourning the loss Galt Police Officer Kevin Tonn, who was killed in the line of duty while serving a calling he’d formed a love for during his teenage years in Roseville.

A graduate of Roseville High School, Tonn spent his junior year heavily engaged in the Roseville Police Explorers, a program that allows teens to do ride-alongs with law enforcement. Rocklin Police Lt. Jamie Knox was also a Roseville police explorer at the time and spent many days with Tonn. The two followed Roseville officers around, learning everything from investigative techniques to writing reports. They often worked security together at the Placer Fairgrounds. Knox remembers that Tonn loved every minute of it.

“Kevin was probably one of the most active members of the explorers back then,” Knox said. “He was at all of the community events and fundraisers … he always looked sharp and had a nice-pressed uniform. Even then he fit the mold of what a police officer should be. He had such intensity about the explorers I was kind of surprised he didn’t go into law enforcement sooner than he did.”

While Tonn’s decision to enlist in the United States Army postponed his rendezvous with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Academy, friends say he did work as a military police officer during his service. In 2009 Tonn graduated from the academy and became a sworn officer for the Galt Police Department. Knox soon reconnected with him when the two bumped into each other at a training class.

“That gave us a chance to catch up,” Knox recalled. “He was really passionate about his job with the Galt police.”

Knox and Tonn kept in touch with each other all the time after that. In a numbing twist of irony, the last conversation they had with each other was two weeks ago, having a friendly debate about how to handle gun control in the wake of recent shootings. For Knox, the news of Tonn’s killing Tuesday was jarring. 

“When you have a fallen officer so close to our region, we’re all grieving right now,” he said. “Most of us have changed our Facebook profile pictures to a simple memorial image that stands for what’s known as The Thin Blue Line.”

Several officers from various law enforcement agencies told The Press Tribune that Tonn was known for his light-hearted nature and great sense of humor. Knox agrees with that assessment.

“Back when we were in the explorers, I don’t think anyone made me laugh as hard as Kevin,” he said. “He was funny, intelligent and basically had all of the most important characteristics that make a good police officer.”