Ex-LAPD Chief Hints Vandals May Target Police Memorial Signs
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles City Council member and former police chief sounded off Wednesday about his concerns over a plan to honor hundreds of individual police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports Councilman Bernard Parks suggested the signs featuring the names of all 207 LAPD officers who have died in the line of duty could be targeted for vandalism.
As part of the effort led by Councilman Mitch Englander, the LAPD in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) was expected Thursday to unveil specially designed street signs that will be posted at or near the locations where officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1907.
Accurate records of officers killed in the line of duty were not maintained prior to 1907, according to the Los Angeles Police Museum.
For officers killed outside the city or country – such as military veterans killed during combat operations – the signs will be erected near the police station of the fallen officer, the downtown Police Administration Building or the Elysian Park Academy grounds, according to officials.
Each sign will have a designated number, which officials say the public will soon be able to reference by visiting a virtual memorial website to learn more about the circumstances of the deceased officer. Using the website, an officer’s relatives and friends will be able to leave video tributes, letters, poems and photographs to commemorate the officer’s sacrifice.
“These signs, which will and have been made possible with generous contributions, are done with the best quality,” Englander said.
But while the City Council voted unanimously to approve the signs, Councilman Bernard Parks noted that demographics in certain communities have transitioned over the years and that the signs could be vandalized.
“We asked to have community involvement before we placed the signs,” Parks said.
The former LAPD chief also warned of the signs creating unintended consequences with the general public.
“We also have been asked over the years, why don’t we create a similar memorial for homicide victims and even, some people have asked about, victims of officer-involved shootings,” said Parks.
In preparation for the rollout, site surveys including maps and digital files were conducted for every location where signs were to be placed to ensure the locations were suitable for placement, officials said.
May is Police Memorial Month, when the LAPD hosts a police memorial event annually to honor the memories of fallen officers.