For the first time in the history of the California Peace Officers’ Memorial, a new bronze figure will be added to the hallowed monument grounds honoring our fallen heroes who have died in the line of duty.
Over a decade in the making, the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument was formally dedicated by Governor George Deukmejian on May 17, 1988. Standing over 14 feet tall, the bronze sculpture represents an evolution of California law enforcement depicted by a male county sheriff of the 1880s, a male state traffic officer of the 1930s and a male city patrol officer of the 1980s. When the memorial monument was conceptualized and built in the 1980s, law enforcement was predominantly a male-dominated field.
At the time of the monument dedication in 1988, seven female peace officers were enrolled (EOW years: 1943, 1959, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1984 and 1986) and had their names forever inscribed on the monument. Since 1989, 16 female officers have died in the line of duty. Currently, 1,648 California peace officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice have their names on the monument.
In California, the first Sunday and Monday of the month of May are dedicated to peace officer memorial ceremonies that pay tribute to those brave men and women who have died in the line of duty protecting the citizens of our great state. The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation (CPOMF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is responsible for the planning and funding of all memorial events and ceremonies, which include a survivors’ reception, dinner and candlelight vigil ceremony on Sunday, as well as a breakfast, law enforcement caravan, honored families private ceremony, public enrollment ceremony and luncheon on Monday.
Due to the pandemic, the memorial ceremonies in May of 2020 and 2021 could not be held, sadly resulting in the last peace officer memorial ceremonies occurring on May 5 and 6, 2019. At those ceremonies, eight officers who paid the ultimate price in 2018 were enrolled onto the monument, as well as two officers from the distant past (1913 and 1937).
On January 10, 2019, Davis Police Officer Natalie Becky Corona, age 22, died in the line of duty after being shot by gunfire while working patrol. On June 19, 2019, Sacramento Police Officer Tara Christina O’Sullivan, age 26, died in the line of duty after being shot by gunfire while working patrol. To be certain, for at least the past decade, there has been meaningful discussion regarding incorporating a female peace officer to the memorial monument. By the decisive action taken at the CPOMF Board of Directors meeting on July 18, 2019, it was evident that the previous discussions coupled with the tragic deaths of two of our finest and brightest resulted in a unanimous vote to honor women peace officers with a bronze figure representing the ultimate sacrifice made by the brave women who are called to our noble profession.
After interviewing several renowned sculptors from across the state in the summer/fall of 2019, it was artist Christopher Slatoff’s (christopherslatoff.com) vision that resonated with CPOMF’s ad hoc committee, which was tasked with making a final recommendation of an artist to the CPOMF Board of Directors. In late 2019, he began work on the project. Slatoff’s sculpture depicts a modern-day honor guard officer on one knee presenting a folded flag in “heroic scale” — approximately 7 feet tall. The completed bronze sculpture will be placed in the circle planter of the monument at the main entrance to the memorial grounds, which faces the honored families of our fallen heroes during the annual California Peace Officers’ Memorial ceremonies.
As the executive director of CPOMF, I am honored to announce that the unveiling of our historic new bronze figure will occur at the Candlelight Vigil at the memorial monument on Sunday, May 1, 2022. The May 1–2, 2022, ceremonies will also be historical in the number of officers being honored, as it is our sad and solemn duty to report that 28 fallen heroes from 2018 through 2021 will be enrolled, along with eight fallen heroes from the distant past.
PPOA is proud to announce that your Association will issue a reimbursement up to $350 for members who attend the upcoming 2022 California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony in Sacramento.
All PPOA members are strongly encouraged to attend this event to help honor the service and sacrifice of our fallen brothers and sisters. Reimbursement eligibility is limited to the first 10 full dues-paying, active PPOA members who call the union office to register. Following the event, each eligible member must submit receipts for hotel and travel expenses to PPOA for reimbursement. If you plan to attend the memorial ceremony and would like to be eligible for reimbursement, please call PPOA at (323) 261-3010.
Finally, I am very happy to report that retired L.A. County Deputy Sheriff Arthur “Art” C. Brown will be reading the poem “The Monument” to thousands of peace officers and public safety supporters at the May 2, 2022, public Enrollment Ceremony. In 1985, Art was one of the original nine commissioners appointed to the California Peace Officers’ Commission representing the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS). Art and former Atherton Police Chief Richard Moore are the two remaining original commissioners. Both men have proudly served on the CPOMF Board as directors and advisors, and both men continue to attend the memorial ceremonies for California’s fallen heroes.
The following is the inscription on the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument: