Officer Kenneth Utsinger
Montebello Police Department
Date of Death: April 21, 2019
Years of Service: 13
Duty Status: Active
Military Veteran: No
Kenneth was born on March 23, 1978 in Anchorage, Alaska, relocating to Oklahoma when he was a child where he lived until 2017. Kenneth met his wife, Heather while living in Oklahoma in the year 2002 while working at a local newspaper company. They were married on Halloween (their favorite holiday) in 2007.
Kenneth decided in 2016 that it was his goal to become a police officer. In order to accomplish this, he knew he would have to make a drastic life change. Even after spending 12 years working in corrections, being a police officer would be a different animal entirely and he set out to tame it. At the age of 39, he committed to getting into the best shape of his life. He began working out daily and changed his diet. He lost more than 100 pounds in less than a year. In June of 2017, Kenneth and his wife decided to sell their house in Oklahoma and move to California. They both determined that California would be a place where they could be more successful in their careers. Once arriving in California, he applied to department after department, hoping to get picked up and put through academy. He showed up to each Physical Agility Test with optimism and hope. Unfortunately, he didn’t pass all of those PATs, but he never stopped. Even when he had exceeded his time or missed an obstacle, he continued on, determined to finish the test. While he felt disappointment, he used it as fuel to train harder and be better. Then he got picked up.
Kenneth started academy at the age of 40. He was older than the other cadets and admittedly felt a little intimidated. But he adjusted and excelled. The joy on his face when he told stories about what he was learning was contagious. He faced a lot of criticism due to his age, many of his teachers didn’t think he’d make it. They pushed him hard. And he made it. Not only did he graduate with high test, physical agility and shooting scores, he was chosen, unanimously, by his entire graduating class as the most inspiring cadet.
Kenneth loved being a police officer. He showed up every day of his training, eager to learn. He spent his days off driving around the city to familiarize himself with street names in order to improve his response time while on shift. He was dedicated, willing to learn, open to feedback, and committed to being a good officer who served the community.
Kenneth was smart and funny, driven and committed. He was kind, generous, loving, and a bit silly at times. Mostly, Kenneth was loved. Loved by his wife, his family, his friends, and his fur kids (Murphy and Ramsay). His absence from this world has left many with longings for more time and more memories. He will never be forgotten, and he will always be a hero to those who knew and loved him. On April 21, 2019, Kenneth was lost to suicide after being a police officer for less than 4 months. Each person that Kenneth impacted, inspired or loved is devastated because there were no warning signs or symptoms prior to this happening. Kenneth was living his dream, overwhelmed at times but nonetheless proud and feeling accomplished. However, in the end dreams aren’t all they are cracked up to be.