Downey Police Officer Wayne Richard Presley
January 18, 1944- April 10, 1981
Officer Wayne Richard Presley was born and raised in Anutt, Missouri. He always wanted to be a police officer.
In July of 1961, he joined the U.S. Navy and remained active until 1972 when he was honorably discharged. Officer Presley was then hired by LAPD, and graduated in the top 25% of his academy class. He had an outstanding work record with L.A.P.D. but wanted to work for a smaller department. Officer Presley applied at Downey and was hired in June of 1973. He was married and had three children. He was well liked by his peers and his supervisors and was an outstanding police officer.
On the evening of April 10, 1981, Officer Wayne Presley, age 37, and his partner, Officer Steve Guthrie, were assisting a stalled motorist at a major intersection in the City of Downey. It was dark, not too late, and visibility was good. They were protecting traffic from a stalled semi tractor. They had taken care of the problem and, parked to the rear of the tractor, had just gotten on their motorcycles with emergency flashers operating. A drunk driver, traveling above the speed limit, struck both officers and slammed officer Presley and his bike into the back of the tractor. Officer Guthrie and his motor were hurled into the curb. Officer Guthrie was injured severely but miraculously survived. Officer Presley was killed instantly.
Since Downey Police Officers went out on the streets for the first time on July 1, 1957, Officer Wayne Presley is the only officer in Department history to have been killed on duty.
"We (police officers) anticipate taking on robbery suspects, burglars, and druggies, but that drunk driver, weaving in and out of the lane, trying to make it home, killed a good cop."
........... Detective Ed Compton - Downey PD (retired)
We Miss You Wayne...