TUMWATER - Every year, a graduating Washington high school senior interested in pursuing a degree in criminal justice will be honored with a $1,000 scholarship in the name of slain Lakewood police officer Tina Griswold.
The scholarship, sponsored by the newly created National Association of Women in Criminal Justice, is a fitting tribute to the fallen officer, who not only set a great example for women in law enforcement but truly cared about young people, said NAWCJ President Belinda Stewart.
“One of the things that really touched me about her is she was visible in many schools in the Lakewood area,” Stewart said of Griswold, who was a 40-year-old Lacey mother of two. “She touched the hearts of kids that are at risk.”
Griswold’s parents – Geneva and Stanton DeLong – joined Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar during the dedication of the scholarship during NAWCJ’s conference Wednesday at South Sound Manor on North Street.
Griswold and three other Lakewood officers – Mark Renninger, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards – were shot and killed Nov. 29 at a Parkland coffee shop while preparing for their shifts. Maurice Clemmons, the man accused of shooting and killing the officers, was a habitual offender out on bail. Clemmons later was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer.
Geneva DeLong told the women in attendance Wednesday that if her daughter were alive, she would be encouraging all of them to pursue their careers in criminal justice to the fullest.
“Tina didn’t know you, but she loved you,” Geneva DeLong told the audience. “There isn’t anyone in this room that she wouldn’t die for, and that’s the truth.”
Others who spoke included Ada Daniels and Jacqueline Ryan, who work in the Lakewood public schools for The Evergreen State College’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEARUP.
Daniels and Ryan said they saw Griswold’s influence on Lakewood students when Griswold’s worked as a school resource officer.
“She definitely made a difference in the schools and in the lives of the people that I work with,” Daniels said.
She was quick to answer a question about whether students liked Griswold.
“They loved her,” Daniels said. “They still talk about her.”
Chief Farrar talked to the crowd about how much the scholarship means to him and the entire department. During a separate interview, Farrar discussed the other memorial efforts under way for Griswold and the other three slain officers. He said plans include a permanent memorial for them at the Lakewood police station. The officers’ names will be added to the state’s law enforcement memorial for fallen officers, as well as at the national law enforcement memorial in Washington, D.C. Farrar said he will attend both events.
Stewart, who also works as a communications director for the Washington state Department of Corrections, said the money for Griswold’s scholarship was raised during NAWCJ’s silent auction. Stewart said NAWCJ is active only in Washington, but its leaders hope to expand and bring its programs to other states.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465