Memorial to Richard F. Giguere
End of Watch: June 6, 1979
Rank: Officer Badge No. 2638
Age: 38 Years of Service: 9 years
Location of Death: 700 Yuma Street, NE
Duty Assignment: Helicopter Branch, SOD
Officer Richard Giguere and Officer Alfred V. Jackson were killed when the Bell 47 police helicopter, named Juno, crashed in the 700 block of Yuma Street, SE. Officer Giguere was the observer when it suddenly crashed. They had just cleared a false “Burglary in Progress” call when it experienced electrical problems and hit power lines.
Bystanders tried to pull the officers from the flames, but could only succeed in grabbing one of the two. Officer Giguere was the first member of the helicopter branch to lose his life in the line of duty, dying before the ambulance made it to the hospital. Officer Jackson died later that same day in the hospital. No civilians were injured.
Officer Giguere served with the Metropolitan Police Department for nine years. He had also served with the U.S. Air Force as a security police officer. He was survived by his wife and three children.
Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.
THE HELICOPTER CRASH THAT RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF OFFICERS ALFRED V. JACKSON AND RICHARD F. GIGUERE ON JUNE 6, 1979.
ONE ARTICLE NOTES THAT OFFICER JACKSON HAD SURVIVED BEING SHOT DOWN TEN TIMES IN VIETNAM COMBAT ONLY TO DIE IN A PEACETIME CRASH ON A QUIET D.C. STREET. ALSO, THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING MAYOR BARRY’S ABSENCE AT THE FUNERAL.
WASHINGTON POST (PRE-CRASH) ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 23, 1978, PAGE H1
Juno: Cop on the Night Beat
They were code-named “Juno,” and their whirling presence has caused criminals to hide beneath cars and porches, to hang from building ledges and to lie motionless on roof tops often in vain attempts to elude detection.
In much the same way that a sudden light in the dark kitchen immobilizes roaches, Juno often keeps suspects rooted to the scene of the crime because they fear imminent discovery.
Juno is the code word for each of four Bell 47 helicopters costing about $55,000 each, piloted by D.C. police. On alert 24 hours a day, the choppers are used to assist police on the ground in searching crime scenes and to provide wide-area surveillance of large crowds, demonstrations and parades.
On any given night, Juno’s giant spotlight, called “Night Sun,” with a power of 3.8 million candles—strong enough to illuminate an entire football field—probes dark depths to light up wooded areas, rooftops and vacant strips of land along railroad tracks, seeking suspects as they attempt to hide.
From the air, Juno pilots and observers-navigators who ride “shotgun” in the two-seat craft, can spot the flowered shirts, the white shoes, the leather jackets and most model cars of those who try to evade the law.
“If we can get a description of the person and get there after the crime occurs, we can find them,” said (Alfred) Jackson.
“Over the years, we’ve developed a sharpness.”
Roy L. Collins, an observer who flies with Jackson, calls the sharpness a “sixth sense.”
Sometimes Juno’s noise and powerful light shining obtrusively onto rooftops and into homes of the innocent, annoy city residents.
But Juno pilot Alfred V. Jackson, who lives in Southeast Washington where Juno is called frequently, said people have become accustomed to the helicopter, knowing police are fighting crime. “We aren’t exactly quiet, but we do try to be neighborly,” Jackson said.
“The first time the farmers came to town to demonstrate against low profits from agriculture last winter we had no idea what we were dealing with,” said Robert Klotz, deputy chief in charge of the D.C. Police Special Operations and Traffic Division.
“I got up in one of the Juno’s and we were able to count the trucks coming in and then to let the ground units know how many we could expect,” Klotz said.
“Most recently, during the Marine Marathon, we used a videotape camera to tape the event so we could study it afterwards to determine what to do next year (to route vehicular traffic),” he said.
“It’s fun sometimes watching them (criminals) trying to get away from us,” said Jackson, one of the ten pilots in the squadron.
“Like the time recently when we responded to a call about a stolen auto, a Gremlin stolen by juveniles who tried to escape on Suitland Parkway,” Jackson said.
“Within a minute of the call, we were on top of them and we directed the scout cars right to them—there was no place to hide.”
Recently, Juno assisted police in catching a suspect hiding behind some apartments in the rear of the 3900 block of 4th Street SE. “Officer Robert Jolley stopped a 1976 Chevette at a traffic stop…after hearing of an auto meeting the same description that had been stolen from the 2100 block of G Street NW,” said 7th District Sgt. David Richardson.
“When Jolley stopped the car, the kid bailed out and ran four blocks to the apartments on 4th Street, he said. “Jolley couldn’t find the kid. He requested Juno’s assistance and Juno lit up the area with the Night Sun. Officers on the ground saw the kid hiding underneath a parked car in the lot.”
On one recent routine day, Juno responded to the following actions:
A 12:11 p.m. burglary at East Capitol Street and Benning Road SE, in which a refrigerator had been stolen from a home. Juno circled the area, spotted a group of people standing beside a refrigerator at the rear of a blue station wagon and alerted ground police who, after arriving on the scene, arrested and charged three people with burglary.
A 4:33 p.m. burglary at Hart Junior High School at 6th and Mississippi Avenue SE. Juno, arriving before police scout cars, orbited around the school to prevent anyone from leaving without being seen. Two people were subsequently arrested inside the building and charged with burglary.
A 7:45 p.m. burglary in progress in the 2000 block of Martin Luther King Avenue SE. Again, Juno circled the area, ground police arrived minutes later and three people were arrested, two inside and one outside who attempted to escape.
“Most of our useful work is done with religious, political, educational in burglary cases,” said John J. Hawkins, operations sergeant for the helicopter squadron. “In burglary cases, someone—a neighbor or just someone going down the street—notices something suspicious and calls the police. Burglars are unaware of the call and stay inside. When they hear Juno, they just wait inside until the police come.”
“Robberies and other crimes are different because the police don’t know about them until after they have been committed,” Hawkins said. “But if we know something is going on, we can get there usually before a police car can on the ground.”
During the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, Juno logged 22,091 calls for assistance, Hawkins said. Last month alone, Juno answered calls for more than 150 burglaries, 30 holdups, 170 rooftop searches and more than 139 calls for everything from assistance in spotting stolen autos to locating traffic accidents, searching the waterfront and observing other crimes in progress.
Twenty-four persons were arrested and charged with 31 offenses during October, a month in which Juno answered 1,846 calls for assistance, said Lt. James Hampton, chief of the D.C. helicopter branch.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATE DATED JUNE 7, 1979, PAGE A1
Copter Crash Kills 2 D.C. Officers
Craft Burns on Busy SE Street
A D.C. Police helicopter crashed and burst into flames on a busy street killing both officers aboard and narrowly missing an elementary school filled with almost 1,000 children.
The helicopter, which was directing a police car to a suspected burglar who had been plaguing the neighborhood began “sputtering” while flying at a low attitude over the 700 block of Yuma Street and then plummeted to the ground, witnesses said.
The pilot, Alfred V. Jackson, 34, was also the pilot in a similar operation just last Thursday when he helped direct officers on the ground to a man suspected of being the long-sought “robber-jogger” of Southeast Washington.
As the helicopter fell yesterday, it hit several power lines, flipped over and smashed into the ground on its side, the witnesses said.
Almost immediately, the helicopter burst into flames. Several bystanders rushed to the scene and pulled one officer from the wreckage, but they were unable to reach the second officer because of intense heat from the flames.
“We pulled out one man, but we knew the other one was dead,” said Jerome Brown, 25, of 602 Atlantic Street. “The whole side of the copter was burning…We could not see the other guy in the flames.”
A U.S. Park Police helicopter was called in and rushed both officers to Washington Hospital Center. Officer Richard F. Giguere, 38, was pronounced dead on arrival. Jackson, 34, died a short time later.
Both men were longtime veterans of the D.C. Police Departments helicopter branch.
Jackson’s helicopter crashed just before 2 p.m. on a busy block between the Washington Highlands Community
Elementary School on the north side of Yuma Street SE and a row of apartment buildings on the south side.
No one on the street was injured. One car parked nearby had its rear window smashed out by a cross piece ripped down from a utility pole when the copter crashed. The more than 950 pupils and 58 teachers inside the school were thrown into momentary confusion. Principal Frances Hughes was told the building was on fire and ordered it evacuated. When that turned out not to be the case, the children returned to the building.
Police and rescue vehicles rushed to the scene. Before that, however, several neighborhood residents had pulled one of the officers from the flames.
Stephen Cade, 22, of 727 Yuma St, who was playing basketball on the nearby school grounds, said that when the crash occurred, he ran up and saw one officer “halfway out” of the helicopter. “His legs were still on fire, Cade said. He said he ran into his own house across the street and brought blankets to wrap around the officer.
“There was no way that we could get to the other man,” Cade said. “The flames were too hot.”
Yesterday’s stakeout operation involved attempts to catch a “daylight burglar” who has been operating in the Southeast neighborhood for some time.
A witness told the police that one of the officers aboard the helicopter had been pointing to a house to direct ground units just before the helicopter began falling.
The wreckage of the $55,000 craft was hauled yesterday evening to National Airport where investigators from the police department, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were sifting through it for clues to the cause of the crash.
Gene Sundeen, transportation board official in charge of the investigation, said late in the day that there were preliminary indications that the copter had developed engine trouble and was trying to make an emergency landing.
The helicopters fuel tanks still had fuel, he said. The fuel ignited when the helicopter crashed.
The crash was the fifth for D.C. police since the department began operating a helicopter branch in 1970. It was the first in which officers were killed. No civilians have been injured.
The helicopter in yesterday’s crash was a Bell 47 model, a small helicopter able to hold two officers—the pilot and an observer—in a cockpit covered by a plastic bubble.
Pilots are trained to “auto-rotate” the helicopter when the engine fails—a technique of lowering the craft slowly by manipulating the rotary blades and guiding the helicopter to a safe landing spot.
This is apparently what Jackson was trying to do yesterday, police said. He was attempting to land the craft on the street between the school and the apartment buildings, they said. “It would have been a perfect landing if he hadn’t hit the wires,” a police spokesman said.
Several witnesses said they saw the helicopter flying over at a low altitude and heard its engine sputter.
“The engine turned off once, and it turned on again and then it turned off again,” said William Graham, 22, of 637 Yuma St.
Who was working on a car in a nearby alley? “I told my buddies,” It’s falling, man.”
Sundeen of the transportation safety board said he does not know of any last-minute radio transmissions by Jackson. The helicopter is equipped for radio communication with both the D.C. police dispatcher and the air control tower at National Airport, from which the helicopter took off.
The last helicopter crash here occurred on April 2, 1976, in a wooded area just off Suitland Parkway SE. There were no injuries.
Jackson was a career officer who joined the police department in 1971 and entered the helicopter branch in 1973. His wife, Alicia, is also a D.C. police officer and the couple had two children. They live in Southeast Washington.
“He loved his work,” said Thomas Duncan, a fellow police officer. “He would say he gets exited in the chase of criminals. His thing was always to be the best.”
Giguere, a native of Brockton, Mass., joined the police force in 1970 and became an observer in the helicopter branch in 1973. He was married and lived in Woodbridge. The couple had three children.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JUNE 14, 1979, PAGE DC3
Love of Flying Gave A Common Bond To Two Officers
Alfred V. Jackson, who survived 10 helicopter crashes in Vietnam, and Richard F. Giguere, who wanted to be a pilot, should not have been together in D.C. police helicopter Juno 5 over Southeast Washington last week.
But Jackson’s regular partner had a doctor’s appointment and Giguere had volunteered to fill in for a few hours. Shortly after 2 p.m., while directing a squad car to a suspected burglar in a lower Southeast neighborhood, Juno 5 crashed in the 700 block of Yuma St. SE.
Residents on the quiet street heard the sputtering police helicopter overhead and several saw it falling lower and lower until it smashed into three electric power lines, struck a transformer police and tumbled to the street.
Jackson, the 34-year-old pilot, and Giguere, 38, were killed. Federal investigators have not determined the cause of the crash.
“He (Jackson) loved to fly,” said Sgt. William A. Avery, as he sat in a National Airport hangar, which is headquarters for the helicopter branch. Avery’s silver (gold) police was wrapped in black tape, a symbol of mourning.
“We used to call him “Juno Jack” because he was just great. He knew the city like the back of his head. If he had someone in sight, he (the suspect) didn’t get away, “Avery recalled.
Jackson’s keen tracking ability two weeks ago helped direct officers on the ground to a man suspected of being the long sought “robber jogger” of Southeast Washington.
His friends say Jackson loved helicopters. “We used to go to the hobby shop in Eastover Mall and Jackson would pick up a model of any one he could,” said Eddie McCloud, a D.C. police officer and one of Jackson’s closest friends. “He was trying to get all different kinds of helicopters. When a new one would come out, he would get it.”
Jackson had built 17 model helicopters, according to friends and relatives. Some were models of the small two-seater Bell 47 choppers he flew for the police department; others were of the combat-equipped U.S. Army Huey helicopters he flew in Vietnam.
“He was shot down 10 times in Vietnam and he survived,” said D.C. policeman Allen P. White, another close friend. “He made it each time over there, but when he went down over here………”
Born in Valdosta, Ga., Jackson joined the Army in April 1965 and served until 1971, according to his brother David. Shortly after his discharge he joined the D.C. police department and went to the helicopter branch in 1973.
Three years later, he began working the midnight shift at the National Airport hangar with his partner, Roger King.
King, who retired from the force last year, visited the hangar last week to help mourn the loss of his two former colleagues.
He recalled that on those long midnight shifts, he and Jackson had only one radio and very different musical tastes.
“I like country and western and he liked soul, so we agreed to allot one hour for my station, then one hour for his, then back to mine,” King said.
Their dislike of each other’s musical tastes was a standing joke between them. One night, King recalled, during the country western hour, Jackson in mock desperation “cut the radio cord in 100 pieces with a pair of scissors and we just laughed.”
But Jackson took his police work seriously. He wrote the observers manual used by the helicopter unit. The manual outlines the procedure for directing a pilot in pursuit of a suspect, a fellow officer said.
In his off-duty hours, Jackson visited Southeast public schools and spoke to students about juvenile crime as part of a community service program organized by Breaker 23, a club of Southeast residents he formed with White and McCloud, which now has more than 50 members, McCloud said.
Jackson lived with his wife, Alicia, also a D.C. police officer, and their 23-month-old daughter, Lisa, in a Southeast townhouse the couple bought two months ago. Angela, 8, Jackson’s daughter by a previous marriage would visit on weekends, a family member said.
Lt. John L. Hampton, chief of the helicopter unit, said last week that Giguere had requested the extra duty with Jackson.
“I told him it would be past his quitting time, but he said, “That’s all right—I’ll just call my wife and tell her I’ll be a little late,” Hampton said.
A call to his wife was typical of Dick Giguere, who according to several fellow officers, was known as “a very devoted husband and father.”
“Whatever he did, he did it with Ann,” said Avery. “He never went out with the boys but always with Ann.”
“His whole life centered around his family,” said Thomas Hamlett, his partner. On Fridays when Giguere came to pick up his paycheck he often brought his 6-year-old son Eric along on the drive from the family’s townhouse in Woodbridge, Va. He was building Eric a large scale model of the World War II German Stuka dive bomber, Hamlett said.
Six or seven months ago Giguere borrowed money from the police department credit union tp pay for lessons to become a licensed airplane pilot, Avery said, “but he used it instead for his family.” Eventually, however, he hoped to become a helicopter pilot like Jackson.
At work, “he was very meticulous about how he looked. He was always sharp,” Hamlett said. “His flying suit was pressed and creased. Even in the hangar his shoes were always shined.”
Giguere brought the same attention to detail to his job as the unit’s ground safety officer at the hangar, Avery said. Giguere’s duties included making sure all fire extinguishers were filled, that no one smoked in the hangar and that the hangar floor was free of any hoses, the sergeant said.
He was also the unit’s artist. He would sketch his fellow officers in the hangar, and he prepared the covers for the unit’s annual reports.
Born in Brockington, Mass., Giguere joined the police department in 1970 and became an observer with the helicopter branch three years ago. He lived with his wife, his son and two daughters, Michelle, 13, and Lynn, 12.
Jackson and Giguere were the first members of the close-knit, 9-year-old helicopter branch to lose their lives while on duty.
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL PAGE DATED JUNE 20, 1979, PAGE A14
On June 9, Washington paid its final respects to the two Metropolitan Policemen killed in the crash of their helicopter.
This is the only situation involving the loss of two policemen in Washington history.
Where was the mayor? Where was the city council?
It seems only appropriate for the officials of D.C. to acknowledge Officers Jackson’s and Giguere’s service to the community by attending the funerals.
Our police risk their lives daily in D.C. and are shown little appreciation for their efforts in law enforcement.
We realize how busy the mayor is; however, he found time to attend the gay celebration the following day to speak to the people who put him in office, but not to attend the funerals of those who gave their lives for the people of D.C. This doesn’t seem right. The absence of Mayor Barry was indeed in poor taste.
Jean K. Gentry
D.C. Police Wives Association, Incorporated.
NO ARTICLES WERE FOUND CONCERNING THE TWO OFFICERS FUNERALS, OR THE RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSE OF THE CRASH.