A Rod and the Hayward P.D. | Print |  E-mail
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Tuesday, 22 May 2012 14:43

By Thomas E. Lorentzen


“Character calls forth character.”



We do not know what fosters the alchemy of art, but we do know an act of art when it appears.

This is what happened in the life of a Hayward policeman named Rod Pierce (also an acclaimed athlete at Hayward High and Chabot College).

He was a person who had earned the admiration and respect of his family, friends and his professional peers at the Hayward Police Department.  His life was recently ended in a tragic accident on Crow Canyon Road at the age of 45.

After the accident medical professionals at Eden Hospital tried to perform miracles to save his life, but they were in vain. In the immediate days after the accident, the honored men and women of the Hayward Police Department stood vigil at the hospital, displaying artistic hues of loyalty, love and respect for their fallen colleague.  The palpability of their emotions, often hidden behind the necessary mask of their difficult profession, was poignant in the expressions upon their faces, the sincerity of their hugs, and the poetry of their conversations.

What was displayed from within the chemistry of this tragedy – of the loss of Rod Pierce – a fine man, father and professional law enforcement officer, was a form of true art. The display from these men and women, and the Pierce and Bolar families, were beyond our humble means to record and reveal. What was done, however, was to add new depth to the meaning of the word “dignity.” They also synchronized the terms of “loyalty” and “duty” with the word “beauty.”

As a long-time family friend I was privileged to be among the many to stand vigil out of respect and appreciation for the character and life of Rod Pierce. The best that we can do is to display the loyalty deserved by him and his family, recognizing that this is all that can be done within the emptiness that orchestrates an inner sense of deep loss.

Within the cadence of these motions and the fog of tears resides the clarity of vision of the essence of the character that Rod possessed and that he had artistically developed.

It is also from which he had earned the respect and love of all of those who knew him and worked with him.  He was a true “A-Rod” and his personal family as well as his family of officers at the Hayward Police Department reconfirmed that fact in how they addressed this tragedy.  They also revealed that they are made of the same strain of character that adorned Rod.

The “A” that is applied in this composition regarding Rod and his families is not restricted to that of a grade, for it is also about the “art of life,” which is most tested from within the realm of tragedy.

Rod and his personal family as well as his professional family provide the truest example possible of what we should all strive to be in life. With his passing, he passed to many others the trueness of the art of life and the richness it provides to those who stay the course.

As a man, father, husband, and a police officer he earned an A in life, making him the real A-Rod. It is also what resides with-in his band of brothers and sisters in the Hayward Police Department. In passing, he passed to many others the essence of the art of life.


Tom Lorentzen lives in Castro Valley. He fomerly served on the board of the Institute of Museum & Library Services and the Advisory Board to Southern Oregon University, and has served three Presidential Administrations.



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