San Diego, California - After a construction work hiatus, all 85 names of the local law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty will once again be on display outside the County Administration Center, but now within the new San Diego County Waterfront Park.
“We are happy to publically unveil the new enhanced Wall of Light Law Enforcement Officers Memorial at its new location on the northwest lawn of our new Waterfront Park,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts. “The raised glass memorial now stands a little more prominently while proudly bearing the names of all the brave officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty while serving San Diego County residents.”
A candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6 on the northwest lawn at 1600 Pacific Highway. People will be able to see the memorial lit up at night and view a slideshow of the 85 slain officers, said Skip Murphy, president of the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.
A more formal ceremony will be held there at noon on Wednesday, May 7 with speakers, a flyover, waterboats, a color/honor guard and performances by a U.S. Marine Corps Band, a pipe band and a Combined Law Enforcement Choir.
The memorial is a project of the San Diego County Deputy Sheriff's Association, the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, the County of San Diego and many private donors. Supervisors Greg Cox and Ron Roberts provided initial seed money for the project when it was first proposed.
Previously, the memorial was installed on a low granite base on the southwest lawn, but when construction on the Waterfront Park began, it was removed for safekeeping. While it was in storage, Murphy said they requested enhancements to the base and the County made that part of the park project.
“It looks much more impressive now, it has its own little footprint and it’s raised higher so people can see it better,” said Murphy.
The memorial is a six-inch-thick layered glass wall nearly five feet tall and 15 feet long. The names of the officers are etched into the glass. Seven select words of meaning are embedded in the glass panels alongside the officers' names: integrity, honor, courage, sacrifice, duty, commitment and loyalty. The memorial is internally lit with a soft white glow from dusk till dawn, illuminating the names of those honored. The lighting will turn to blue for a period of mourning if a line of duty death occurs in the region and also during the annual memorial ceremony in May.
“The memorial is very important to us as survivors because it assures all of us that our fallen officers will never be forgotten,” said Rosa Beattie Latzke, the widow of California Highway Patrol motorcycle Officer Dean Beattie who was killed in a traffic collision in 2003. “So, for us it feels good that they do (the ceremony) every year and we look forward to it every year because we know they are going to honor our loved one.”
Beattie Latzke added she is really happy about the improvements to the memorial.
“I am really happy that they did that and I hope that the public will come not just this next week but during the year and see the memorial,” she said.