Officer praised for his dedication
GRANADA HILLS – A Los Angeles police officer who’d donned a badge to fight gangs in his North Hollywood neighborhood was buried Wednesday with full police honors. The funeral for Officer David Rodriguez, 33, of Palmdale was the second this week for two officers killed in separate freeway crashes on July 29. “When you look at Dave and you look at his life, character and his compassion come shining through,” said Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell during a funeral Mass at St. John Baptist de la Salle Catholic Church. “He took on gangs, gangs that controlled his city by intimidation and fear. “He wasn’t afraid. He went out there night after night to put the worst of the worst in jail.” Rodriguez’s car, his body inside, was found at 10:20 a.m. after it plunged down an embankment of the Ventura Freeway in Van Nuys. Los Angeles police Detective George “Mike” Selleh, who died a few miles down the 101 when his motorcycle crashed into a car five hours earlier, was memorialized on Monday. Rodriguez, a four-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, was remembered for his dedication to his mother, whom he supported, and as a tough, dedicated cop. His flag-covered casket was slowly wheeled through a cordon of uniformed police, who filled the church to honor their fallen friend. It was Rodriguez who, having grown up in a tough North Hollywood neighborhood, vowed to escape and to combat gang life. It was Rodriguez who, as the sole provider for his Bolivian mother, made good on his promise to buy them a house. And it was Rodriguez – easygoing, fun, always willing to help anyone – who’d wear a FedEx uniform to the police station so his neighbors wouldn’t know he was a cop. After he bought that house in Palmdale, he’d drive to North Hollywood each day to protect his home turf. “The LAPD posters that talk about community cops, that was Dave,” said Lt. Alan Hamilton, his former supervisor at North Hollywood Division. “He had a dedication and desire to protect his community. “He was my enforcer. I put him out there; he had a mission. He was my go-to guy. He was the nightcrawler out looking for the bad guys.” After the service, Rodriguez was buried in San Fernando Mission Cemetery with full honors, including a 21-gun salute. His mother, Angela, was handed the flag that had draped his coffin. “As a son and committed peacemaker, David follows the example of the true shepherd,” said the Rev. Frank Hicks, a chaplain for the LAPD. “He will be missed.” [email protected] (818) 713-3730160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!