LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Department held their annual ceremony Thursday to honor officers killed in the line of duty for Police Memorial Month.
“I came every year,” a relative of a slain officer said about the event.
“Does it help?” CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Dave Lopez said.
“It sure does,” she replied.
As part of the effort led by Councilman Mitch Englander, the LAPD in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) unveiled at 10 a.m. specially designed street signs that will be posted at or near the locations where 207 officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1907.
Three officers have been killed in traffic-related accidents in the past two months.
“Sometimes, it seems like it’s too much to bear,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said of the recent fatalities.
For those killed outside the city or country, including veterans killed during combat operations, signs will be erected near the police station of the fallen officer, the downtown Police Administration Building or the Elysian Park Academy grounds.
As part of their effort to honor the officers, the LAPD discovered many historic records surrounding their deaths were incomplete or inaccurate. After 10 months of extensive research, the Department was able to obtain precise incident information to complete the project.
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.
LAPD’s Southwest Division will also specifically honor Officer James Choquette at 1 p.m. Thursday with a marble bench engraved with his name outside the police station. Choquette, a 10-year police veteran, was killed Aug. 2, 1979 when his patrol vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while responding to a robbery call. Beck, who was a patrol sergeant at the time, was driving behind him. Choquette died in Beck’s arms.
“As a young police officer, those kind of things never leave you,” Beck said. “The pain never goes away. Now, it dulls and it gets less intense…”
An engraved brick area constructed by Southeast LAPD Cadets will be adjacent to the bench honoring past and current officers, volunteers and others who have contributed to the South Los Angeles community.
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