Family and friends of Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh were joined by elected officials, law enforcement from around the region and community members to mark the occasion of the long-awaited Highway 33 dedication to the fallen peace officer on Sept. 2.
The dedication ceremony and unveiling was in the downtown Newman Plaza and was followed by the sign officially being installed by Caltrans on Highway 33, just beyond the Stuhr Road intersection. The highway sign will greet drivers proceeding south on the highway into Newman.
On Dec. 26, 2018, Singh was shot and killed during an early-morning traffic stop of a suspected drunken driver in Newman. Singh was survived by his wife Anamika and their young son, who was just 5-months-old at the time of his death. He started Kindergarten this year.
“His sacrifice is so important to realize - the bravery, the commitment that he individually made,” said Congressman John Duarte, who was in attendance. “We as a community, as a nation, need to recognize our debts to law enforcement and first responders everywhere.”
Originally, a plan to rename a portion of the highway in Singh’s honor started in 2019, when the Assembly Transportation Committee approved a resolution for the Corporal Ronil Singh Memorial Highway that would encompass a stretch of Highway 33 in the Westside. But then bureaucracy and the pandemic came along, slowing the process down. In an effort to get the project back on track, Stanislaus County Supervisor Channce Condit reached out to State Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil.
Alvardo-Gil said that during her campaign she learned of Singh’s death and made a vow to get the highway memorial back on track. Once the effort gained support in the legislature, including that of her colleague Assemblyman Juan Alanis, Alvarado-Gil turned her focus to the immediate need of funding.
The State approves the memorial sections but does not cover the costs associated with any memorial signs or plaques. That is where the advocacy group Blue Line Wives came in. Blue Line Wives was founded in 2016 by Amanda Young after the death of a law enforcement member in her hometown. She said she saw a need to support the families behind the law enforcement community, both in times of tragedy and in times of joy. Alvarado-Gil and Supervisor Condit got the ball rolling with $5,000 and the organization took donations and sold memorial coins to help pay for the project, which came in around $9,000.
“This is an example of why Stanislaus County is one of the best in California,” Alvarado-Gil said. “Our community comes together not only in sorrow but to also celebrate.”
Singh was born in Fiji and came to the United States to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer. Singh started his law enforcement career as a volunteer with the Modesto Police Department and then served as a cadet and animal service officer with the Turlock Police Department. He worked in Turlock from 2006 to 2010 and then joined the Merced County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy in 2010. He graduated Modesto Junior College in 2009 with a degree in criminal justice. Singh joined the Newman Police Department in 2011.
“He was a great role model for all of us living the American dream,” said Assemblyman Alanis. The two met one another when Alanis worked for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
“He was a son, a husband, a father and a friend,” said Condit. “And today, I’m proud to say, his memory will live forever. Each of us will have pride as we drive by that sign.”
The dedication ceremony was preceded by the Tunnel to Towers run/walk with many people participating in Singh’s honor. The event is hosted by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which was created in the memory of New York Firefighter Stephen Siller with the mission of assisting catastrophically injured veterans and first responders, fallen first responder families, and Gold Star families. Siller was killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has previously assisted Singh’s family by paying off his mortgage.