Former Cloverdale Police Chief Stephen Cramer died on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Cramer was hired by the Cloverdale Police Department to be a police officer in 2005, became a sergeant in 2010 and was appointed chief of police in 2015. Cramer retired from his position in December.
“It is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of former Cloverdale Police Chief, Stephen Wayne Cramer,” read a press release from Robert Stewart, interim chief of police. “Chief Cramer had been battling cancer on and off since February 2011. He fought hard and valiantly for it was his intent and purpose in life to beat the cancer, regain his health and return to duty.”
Starting in 2011, Cramer went through multiple recurrences of squamous cell carcinoma, which manifested as throat cancer. Since being diagnosed, Cramer was declared cancer-free multiple times, went through multiple rounds of chemotherapy and underwent surgery to get a tracheoesophageal voice prosthesis (TEP).
During his time at the department, Cramer was a champion of community outreach. In a December interview with the Reveille about his retirement, the chief said that he would miss positively interacting with the community.
“We implemented community events such as Coffee with a Cop, the Law Enforcement Torch Run and National Night Out, so our citizens recognize us as members of the community rather than anonymous drones who carry a badge,” he said. “In this era, where nationally law enforcement is looked upon negatively, I take pride in the reality that our officers and our department are treated with mutual respect.”
His dedication for outreach is something that has echoed throughout the community.
“Years ago I was arrested for cannabis, and that was when he came to me and we had a conversation about the medical side of it,” said Patrick King, community member and owner of The Soil King Garden Center. “That was when everybody frowned on me … he came to me and just asked me a bunch of questions about the reason cannabis meant that much to me. From that moment, we built bridges of working together to stop the criminal side of cannabis and help educate.”
“I guess if I had to say one thing, it’s that we were on two sides of a fence and he reached his hand over and met me in the middle,” King continued. “His legacy will live on. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”
“I knew Chief Cramer for over 10 years, and during that time we worked together on key city initiatives including the passage of Measure O, that benefitted the financial well-being of the city,” said Mayor Melanie Bagby in a statement. “Chief Cramer’s energy and enthusiasm for all things Cloverdale, along with his infectious smile, will be missed.”
“I was hosting a pet licensing event for the City of Cloverdale when Stephen drove up and parked,” remembered CPD dispatcher Lori Smith. At the time, Cramer was a corporal at the department. “I watched as he opened the door of his vehicle and these two oversized six month old Labrador-mix puppies tumbled out. They were everywhere. Stephen stood there with leashes in hand while this massive blur of black circled around him so unpredictably — it was difficult to decide how to be of any help. We laughed together as he tried to regain control of a situation he clearly had no hopes of controlling.”
“To me, Stephen presented this larger-than-life personality,” Smith continued. “Having him brought down to his proverbial knees by the pure delight of these two rambunctious puppies should remind all of us to recognize the humor in an otherwise chaotic moment, accept that all situations do not need to be controlled, and just laugh.”
Cramer is survived by his wife Tami and seven children.
A service for Chief Cramer will be on Feb. 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the Luther Burbank Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road.
A celebration of life at Saint Francis Church, 469 Third Street, Sonoma, will be held following the service. All emergency services personnel and members of the public are invited to attend.