Correctional Officer IV
Fresno County Sheriff’s Office
Class of 1998 - Department of Criminology
On 12 October 2021, the Fresno County Sheriff’s office announced that Toamalama Scanlan
has passed away at Kindred Hospital in Paramount, California. He was 46 years old.
Information posted by the Sheriff’s Office
On September 3, 2016, Officer Scanlan sustained gunshot wounds while responding to
an active shooter in the main jail lobby. Since that date, Officer Scanlan has been
hospitalized and ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
Toamalama Scanlan began his career with the Fresno County Probation Department on
June 29, 1998 as a Probation Aide assigned to the Drug Suppression Unit. He promoted
to a Group Counselor in 1999 and continued to promote through the ranks as a Juvenile
Correctional Officer II. He was beloved by his coworkers and youth in the facility.
He served as one of the first armed Transportation Officers in the facility and quickly
earned the reputation of a being a reliable and professional officer. His smile and
sense of humor filled the Juvenile Hall and brought great happiness to everyone who
knew him. Despite being a man of great strength and stature, he was kind and a gentle
soul. He developed lifelong relationships with his coworkers at Juvenile Hall and
He had a calling to serve the community in another capacity and joined the Fresno
County Sheriff’s Office on April 10, 2006 and again quickly moved up the ranks promoting
to Correctional Officer IV on August 20, 2012. He was beloved by the Sheriff’s Office
Correctional Team and inmates. Correctional staff respected him and enjoyed all the
qualities that he had given Probation over the years. At the time of his injury he
was assigned to Population Management and he was a SERT team member. Officer Scanlan
leaves behind his wife, Tepatsi, and six children.
We would like to share a few comments from former and current
Dept. of Criminology faculty who knew Malama
From a retired Fresno County Probation Officer and recently retired Dept. of Criminology
“Malama Scanlan was a Criminology major in the 1990's and was a member of Fresno State’s
football team in 1996. He took several of my classes and internship. He was a gentle,
giant, proud Samoan. When he came to Fresno State to play football he was already
married with several children. He went to work for Fresno County Probation as a Correctional
Officer in 1998 and then joined the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office as a correctional
officer in 2006. He was always polite and always had a smile on his face. On Sept.
13, 2016, Officer Scanlan was working the front desk at the main jail when an armed
convicted felon, recently released from prison, entered the jail lobby and caused
a disruption. I had done the sentencing report many years before on the shooter and
22 other gang codefendants who were responsible for a sex-trafficking ring in the
While attempting to escort the individual out of the lobby, Officer Scanlan and Officer
Juanita Davila were shot. Officer Davila recovered from her injuries but Officer Scanlan
spent the last five years in various hospitals while undergoing rehabilitation trying
to learn to walk and talk with very little success. Pictures of Officer Scanlan in
rehab made one cry as he was but a shell of his former self. His wife and 6 children
stuck by him throughout. Why does this happen to good people? If correctional policy
remains the same, the criminal will be in prison for the rest of his life - he was
sentenced to 112 years to life”.
From a current Fresno County Probation official and current Dept. of Criminology Professor:
“During the time Toamalama worked in my department, and I interacted with him, he
was always professional, level-headed, respectful, polite, and ALWAYS had a smile
on his face no matter what kind of day he was having. When he left to go work with
the Fresno Sheriff’s Office it was a loss for my Dept. and such a big gain for FSO.
In part he left because he felt he could make a bigger impact in his interactions
with that population, and in the end making a bigger impact on the community. His
legacy will continue on with his beautiful children”.
Officer Scanlan’s passing contains an important lesson for our students – that the
careers to which many of you aspire, while extraordinarily rewarding, are also extraordinarily
dangerous. Please take all that you do in preparation for these careers – your studies,
your interactions with others, your personal behavior – seriously and ethically. You
are unique on this campus in that there is no other department preparing you for both
the rewards and the dangers of these types of careers. Remember that you will, in
the not very distant future, be representing yourself, your agency, the Dept. of Criminology,
and Fresno State. And, you will represent the memory of those who came before you,
who sat in the same seats you are sitting in now, like Correctional Officer Toamalama
Scanlan, Dept. of Criminology, Class of 1998.
May he rest in peace.
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