As the flag-draped coffin of slain Exeter police officer Daniel Green was wheeled out of Visalia First Assembly of God Church on Tuesday, hundreds of officers from as far away as Morro Bay saluted.
They had come to pay their last respects to one of their own, a relentless investigator but also a cop with compassion.
Green, 31, was shot to death at his home in Goshen by his former wife, authorities said.
His body was found Feb. 6 after he did not show up for work. A day later, Erika Sandoval, 28, with whom he had a 2-year-old son, was arrested on suspicion of murder by lying in wait.
At the funeral service, Exeter police Chief Cliff Bush said Green’s policing skills, quick wit and leadership ability made him popular with fellow officers.
“He thought about victims and didn’t rest until he did all he could,” Bush said. Green served as lead investigator into the 2011 homicide of 3-year-old Sophia Acosta, who police said was beaten to death by her mother’s live-in boyfriend.
In his career, he was a patrol officer, motorcycle officer, member of an anti-car theft task force, investigator, a lead field training officer, and member of the department’s high-risk search warrant team.
Additionally, “he was a walking book of knowledge” about laws and latest court decisions, Bush said. Green was also president of the police officers association.
At Green’s request, the police chief assigned him to be a motorcycle officer, yet several months later Green unexpectedly asked for a transfer, saying he didn’t like writing traffic tickets to people.
“He wanted to make people happy,” Bush said.
But nothing made him happier than being a father to his son, Aiden, Bush said.
“When Aiden came along, he was 110% a dad,” Bush said. “He’d whip out his phone and show pictures.”
Others also spoke of his devotion to his son.
“He seemed to walk taller and prouder” after the boy was born, Exeter police chaplain Daymon Qualls said.
Donations to benefit Aiden can be made to the Daniel Green Memorial Fund at any Bank of the Sierra.
Whether riding motorcycles, saving coupons, being a father or investigating a crime, “everything Daniel did, he did 100%,” Qualls said.
Qualls said Green once gave cash from his own wallet to a woman stopped for shoplifting when she said she needed to see her father.
Green was born in Lindsay and raised in Porterville. He has a twin brother, Matthew.
The 2002 graduate of Porterville High School was introduced to law enforcement as a youth when a Porterville officer gave him a ride-along, prompting him to join a police Explorer program and a police cadet program.
He put himself through the College of the Sequoias police academy and got hired in Exeter.
After the funeral service, dozens of motorcycle riders — Green had a passion for motorcycles — joined the procession to Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Porterville, where Green was buried.
Exeter police officer Mark Durkee said the Tulare County law enforcement community was rocked by Green’s death, but “we’re going to get up, lace our boots and go to work, because that’s what Daniel would do.”