By Madisen Keavy

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — At a podium, late Friday afternoon, in front of the city hall, the Elk Grove police chief stood next to a photo of a fallen officer to do something he has never had to do: announce a death in the line of duty for one of his own.

The emotions could be seen and heard in Chief Timothy Albright’s voice as he looked out into cameras live streaming his update about the death of Officer Tyler “Ty” Lenehan who was killed in a head-on crash in Sacramento less than 12 hours before the press conference.

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Lenehan was part of the Elk Grove Police Department “family,” as Albright called it, for six years. He wasn’t new to law enforcement. Before his tenure in Elk Grove, he served in the U.S. Air Force for five years. Then, his career in law enforcement began.

“The call of an officer down, and an officer needing assistance tugs at everybody’s heart especially those that are in the profession,” said Albright.

He was a Reserve Officer for the Citrus Heights Police Department. After that, he spent two years with the Galt Police Department. In that time, photos of his community work were posted to Facebook.

Stories of his generosity and community service shared by strangers and community members who saw Lenehan at work. Work, for Lenehan, that meant giving back to his community.

“This hits hard for us,” said Albright, who explained Lenehan was the first Elk Grove Police Officer killed in the line of duty.

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Lenehan was in uniform and on his way to work.

“We heal from the support of our community, and it’s in these times that our community shows up, demonstrates that support. We feel that. We appreciate that,” said Albright.

The community stepped up within hours of Lenehan’s death to tie blue ribbons on every tree and post around the Elk Grove Police Department. As the sun set on Friday night, flags in the area were flying at half staff in his honor.

A witness at the scene of the head-on crash on Highway 99 told CBS13 he saw the body language of the first responding Elk Grove Police Officer change as he knelt next to his “brother in blue.” The witness, a Navy veteran, said he was moved because he knew what it meant to watch someone in your “brotherhood” hurt.

“The officer, he was running up to the other officer on the ground, he did one of those, it was urgent, but his shoulders… it was a whole body shrug, like he just knew,” said a witness, who wanted his name to be omitted.

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Albright later confirmed at the Friday afternoon press conference the Elk Grove officer who was first to Lenehan’s side saw the accident happen. That, he said, is a part of the job that will never be easy.