Reporting Mike Landa
SANTA ANA (CBS) — Police officers in Santa Ana have finally been recognized for their service from over 20 years ago.
KNX 1070′s Mike Landa reports LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was on hand Thursday to honor 50 officers for their help in putting down the Los Angeles riots in 1992.
The officers were awarded the department’s civil unrest ribbon for assisting LAPD officers during the unrest sparked by the outcome of the Rodney King trial — the same pin worn by Beck and other officers who responded to the city’s “darkest days”.
“I hope you wear it proudly and recognize the appreciation with which I give it,” said Beck.
Many of the recipients like Santa Ana Police Sgt. John Follo are now retired, but said they will always remember that chaotic scene that reminded him of “the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland when the town is burning all around you”.
“I don’t think any of us expected any of this to happen,” said Follo, who was a member of a SWAT team deployed to South L.A. “Once it was over, we went back to work.”
Reports of looting, arson, murder and other mayhem overwhelmed police dispatchers in the days following April 29, 1992, that left 53 people killed, thousands more injured and roughly $1 billion in property damages citywide.
Patric Pierson, 55, was a Santa Ana patrol officer at the time and said he’ll never forget the surreal images of that time.
“Didn’t look real, it looked like a war zone, but it almost looked like a movie set,” Pierson said.