BADGES 47, 154 & 439, ID 1554
SDPD 05/16/1949 - 05/23/1979
09/06/1923 - 06/12/2005
Alfred "Doc" Harley Lawson, Jr. born September 6, 1923 in Batavia, Iowa passed away Sunday, June 12, 2005.

Doc Lawson was a man who was dedicated heart and soul to his wife and family and the city of San Diego.

Growing up in the small town of Batavia Iowa, life was tough for young Doc Lawson, but his strong will and determination to lead a good life allowed him to persevere.

At the age of fourteen Doc lived and worked with a family that owned the local mortuary in Batavia, this is where the nickname of Doc was bestowed upon him.

He learned to fly airplanes in his teens and between school and working at the mortuary he flew planes as a crop duster. Any one that knew Doc Lawson knew he loved to fly, he often said that when he soared above the clouds he felt like he could touch the face of God.

After his high school graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy, which brought him to his final home San Diego California. After his honorable discharge from military service he joined the San Diego Police Department.

Law enforcement and the protection of San Diego's citizens was paramount to Doc, the pride he felt as being a sworn officer for this great city never falter or dimmed in his lifetime.

When he was not on duty as a peace officer, he volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol and was a pilot for this organization for many years.

Here again, his belief that he could be of service to others drove him to do more than was required of him and he did so without hesitation.

In 1959, Doc joined the Quiet Birdmen's Association (QB's), Doc remained active in this association up until his health prevented him from doing so.

In 1950, Doc Lawson met the beautiful Elsie Mary Miller and they married July 28, 1951. No greater love has there been between a man and a woman. Their life together was truly meant to be and one can always remember seeing them holding hands and supporting each other through good times and bad. The love they have will keep them together for all eternity and they exemplify the true meaning of love, honor and cherish.

While Doc and Elsie raised their two children, Doc continued to excel in his police career and also taught aviation at Midway Adult Night School. Many of his students went on to become private pilots as well as pilots for commercial airlines.

In later years, Doc taught high school students to fly as a teacher at Morse High School. He use to comment about how it felt to take the students on their first flight and see the excitement in their eyes and the joy he felt to be apart of their journey to becoming future pilots.

Some of Doc's students went on to fly for the United States Military Services and the pride he felt for each of his students was no different than if they had been his own child.

For many years, Doc was a motor officer in the traffic division for San Diego Police Department; he also worked Homicide, Patrol, and Records.

As Lieutenant for the department he flew with the San Diego County Sheriffs Department's Astrea Unit during two major emergency incidents in San Diego, one being the severe power outage that knocked out all power in the city. As Doc flew above the city he was in communication with his officers on the ground and directed said officers to key locations to keep the city moving and its citizens safe.

The Sheriff of San Diego County would later comment that Lt. Doc Lawson's actions during this crisis "were as if a maestro were directing the operation."

The other incident involved the crash of PSA Flight 187; once again Lt. Doc Lawson took to the air with the Sheriffs and helped move emergency personnel as well as his officers in and out of the devastating scene.

He had great concern for all personnel on the ground and knew the toll that handling such an overwhelming scene could take on his officers. Doc remained available to his officers day or night should they need him to help them deal with what they had been through during and following the plane crash.

Lt. Alfred "Doc" Lawson. Jr., retired from the police depart in 1979, but returned shortly thereafter to develop and implement the San Diego Police Department's Aero Squadron and the commission of its fast helicopter ABLE 1.

Lt. Lawson was the co-founder of this police unit and Chief Pilot until be took himself out of service shortly after his 70th birthday.

Doc Lawson is survived by his wife of 54 years Elsie Mary Lawson of Ramona, CA; a son, Terrence Michael Lawson and his wife, Cristie Armstrong of El Cajon, CA.; a daughter, Heather Lynn Hebert and her husband, Terry Hebert of Ramona, CA.; grandchildren, Bradley Michael Lawson and his wife Sarah Lawson of Santee, CA., Lacey Lynn Hebert of Thousand Oaks, CA., Michael William Hebert of Ramona, CA., Christine and Jessica Lawson of San Diego, CA.
email me
Basic information is provided as a courtesy and is obtained from a variety of sources including public data, museum files and or other mediums.  While the San Diego Police Historical Association strives for accuracy, there can be issues beyond our control which renders us unable to attest to the veracity of what is presented. More specific information may be available if research is conducted.  Research is done at a cost of $50 per hour with no assurances of the outcome.  For additional information please contact us.