Funeral services for Lt. James “Jimmy” Farrell, a man frequently described as “a true friend of West Hollywood,” will be held Monday in Westlake Village.
The 52-year-old Farrell, who died of leukemia on May 23, spent 20 of his 25 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stationed in West Hollywood. He came to West Hollywood as a deputy in 1993, his first patrol assignment after several years working at the Inmate Reception Center.
Farrell served as team leader on the COPPS (Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving) Team, then was promoted to sergeant, managing the COPPS Team and special events for the city. Eventually, Farrell became the operations sergeant for the station.
While Farrell had several chances to leave the West Hollywood station, he always preferred to stay in the city he came to love.
“Most [sheriff’s personnel] rotate around, but Jimmy wanted to stay,” said Kristin Cook, the city’s public safety manager. “He understood West Hollywood and loved the people here. He cared about the community like it was his extended family.”
Farrell did eventually leave the West Hollywood station in April 2012 when he was promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to the county jail in downtown Los Angeles.
Cook, who worked closely with Farrell, said she thought of him as an older brother.
“I’m the oldest of four children, but Jimmy was like the older brother I never had,” recalled Cook. “He was always taking care of everybody. He always approached everything about who needs help. That’s the definition of a perfect big brother.”
Sgt. Jon Klaus, who shared an office with Farrell for many years and now has Farrell’s previous position as the station’s COPPS Team sergeant, also thought of Farrell as a brother.
“We fought like brothers, we laughed like brothers,” said Klaus. “We used to yell at each other and people would ask if we needed someone to intervene. We’d always laugh and say no.”
On numerous occasions, Farrell gave out his cell phone number and told residents to call him directly if they needed help.
“Being friends with Jimmy Farrell was a badge of honor,” said Councilmember Jeff Prang. “He was an incredible human being. He wasn’t just a deputy, he was a wonderful person who cared so much about this city and its residents.”
West Hollywood paid special tribute to Farrell on its website, saying he had a “special touch” for dealing with neighborhood concerns and quality of life issues.
“If you ask anyone in this town, they will tell you that if there was a public safety issue or a neighborhood problem that needed to be addressed, Jimmy was the man for the job,” reads the city’s tribute. “Put him in a room with a group of disgruntled residents attending a Neighborhood Watch meeting and by the end of the meeting every single person in that room truly believed that Jimmy understood each of them and really cared about their concerns.”
Despite being an adept peacemaker, Farrell was also humble. Lt. Dave Smith recalled complimenting him on being promoted to sergeant.
“He’d done a lot of work to get the promotion, but he said to me, ‘Dave, I learned how to be a supervisor from you,’” said Smith.
Christopher Street West, which puts on the annual gay pride festival and parade, honored Farrell in 2011 with the Special Community Award, an award given to people/organizations deserving of special recognition for exceptional reasons.
“Jimmy was shocked when they announced they were giving it to him,” recalled Cook. “He couldn’t understand why they were giving it to him. He felt like they should be giving it to someone else and we had to say explain that no one deserved it more.”
Farrell is survived by his wife Therese and three sons, Ryan, age 21, Justin, age 19, and Connor, age 16.
The funeral is Monday, June 3 at 10 a.m. at St. Maximillian Kolbe Catholic Church, 5801 Kanan Road at Lindero Canyon, Westlake Village. Immediately after the service, the burial will take place at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park, located nearby. A reception at the church will follow the burial.