LAPD to get $600K to refurbish fallen officer memorial

The memorial is rusting and falling apart just a decade after it was installed, officials said

By Josh Cain
Daily News, Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department is getting $600,000 to refurbish its memorial to officers who have been killed on the job, a rectangular wall of metal plates that is rusting and falling apart just a decade after it was installed.

The 12-foot high, 32-foot long wall bearing the names of 215 officers who died in the line of duty over more than a century is located in an outdoor raised area at the department's downtown headquarters.

The wall was dedicated in 2009, around the same time that the new headquarters first opened after the city tore down LAPD's previous facility, Parker Center. The fallen officer memorial at the old headquarters was taken down during that process.

In a letter to the Los Angeles Police Commission, Chief Michel Moore said the metal plates are showing signs of rusting and in danger of breaking loose. The department wrapped the wall in a plastic covering to prevent any more damage.

"The finish over the brass plates has eroded, causing oxidation to develop across the entire Memorial," Moore wrote. "The rods that suspend the plates containing the names of the officers have broken off or become loose."

On Tuesday, Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told Los Angeles police commissioners that discussion about repairing the memorial began after a donor came forward to the Los Angeles Police Foundation, a non-profit that directs donations to LAPD to fulfill requests for equipment, training grants, vehicles, food and other items.

The wall has nothing to protect it from weather, and began to fall into disrepair after a few years. Girmala said previous attempts to clean the wall and efforts at upkeep weren't enough to prevent its finishing from wearing off.

"Over time, smaller attempts to keep the memorial looking worthy of what it was representing fell short," she told police commissioners.

The wall was designed by Gensler, an architecture firm, and built by A. Zahner Company, a Kansas City construction company. Both companies were consulted again as LAPD discussed how to refurbish the wall.

The bronze plaques with the names of police officers on them will be refabricated with new materials, Grimala said, and the pegs holding them into place will be replaced.

All the plaques will also be etched with lasers, and will include etchings of the portraits of each fallen officer. The plaques will now include a medallion that can hold flowers, if family members want to leave them to honor their fallen loved ones.

Girmala said security measures will be added to protect the wall, she refused to elaborate to police commissioners what kind of measures would be included. She also said structures like bird deterrents and weather barriers will be installed to protect the wall from future wear and tear.

LAPD will sign a 10-year contract with an art and monument maintenance company to upkeep the memorial. Girmala added that the construction company offered to add any new plaques for fallen officers for free.

"We hope that no plaques will ever be added to this memorial wall ever again," Girmala said.

(c)2020 the Daily News (Los Angeles)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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