Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Engraving Day: the solemn process begins again

Today, at 11 a.m., the solemn process of adding the names of more fallen law enforcement heroes to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., began yet again.

Under mostly sunny skies, and working with great care and precision, engravers Kirk Bockman and Jim Lee sand-blasted seven fallen officers’ names into Panel 6-West, Line 27, of the Memorial—part of the annual Engraving Day ceremony that marks the symbolic beginning of the two-week process of adding new names.

Bockman and Lee have engraved every single name on the Memorial’s marble walls, dating back to its construction and dedication in 1991. Once they are finished adding this year’s names—a total of 387—the pair from Denver, CO, will have engraved 18,661 names on the nation’s monument to fallen law enforcement officers.

The 387 names being added this year include 133 officers who died in 2008, plus 254 who died in previous years but whose sacrifice has just recently come to light.

One of those heroes is Prince George’s County (MD) Police Sergeant Richard Findley. He died last June 27 after being intentionally struck and killed by the driver of a stolen vehicle who was trying to elude police. Family members, friends and co-workers of Sergeant Findley, including Chief of Police Roberto Hylton, were on hand to witness his name being engraved.

“Police officers dedicate their lives to working in an occupation where life and death too often meet. Sergeant Findley, unfortunately, lost his life while serving as a protector to the residents of Prince George’s County,” Chief Hylton said.

In addition to Sergeant Findley, the following officers were added to Panel 6-West, Line 27 Tuesday morning:

Patrolman Irving Baker, Warren (OH) Police Department, EOW January 6, 1933;
Deputy Juan Escalante, Los Angeles County (CA) Sheriff’s Office, EOW August 2, 2008;
Private John Fox, Texas Rangers, EOW November 16, 1859;
Deputy W.H. Kelly, Trinity County (TX) Sheriff’s Office, EOW April 24, 1911;
Special Agent Dirk Miller, Army Criminal Investigative Command, EOW December 12, 1985;
Officer Kenneth Surles, Pell City (AL) Police Department, EOW July 4, 2008.

The 387 heroes engraved this month will be formally dedicated on the Memorial during the 21st Annual Candlelight Vigil, at 8 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, May 13. And, for the first time, we will be providing a fee live videocast of the vigil over the Internet. Register today at http://www.officer.com/events/candlelight09/register/index.jsp.


  1. Yesterday my niece finally made it to Washington, D.C. to attend a conference for teachers. Her first wish to see the memorial with her Grandfather's name from Illinois engraved upon it. Upon her arrival that area was blocked for new engraving, but she spotted his name from the times her father and I have that block 18 memorized. Thank you to the workers/officers that moved the tape to allow her to get a full etching to take back to her children and fulfill something she always wanted to do. Family CPD#9775 Melvin L. Gossmeyer EOW 7/17/60

  2. Thank you for making this available to those that are unable to attend. Yes, I am sure it was a memorable ceremony but I will never forget the love and concern that was shown by Bernie and her staff several years ago at what was not a ceremony but should have been. It was when Bernie goes out with her strips of paper to see how they line up and will appear on the wall for the engravers. Bernie knew the stories behind each of those Officers names and I shared the stories of the families left behind that were from my state. Having worked with Bernie I knew that she cared but I never knew how much she invested her self. Thank You for showing the love to our Officers.
    Trudy Meyers W/98/MO

  3. I feel that Military Police Officers/Investigators should also have this honor. They provide lae enforcement services to some 30, 0000 individuals on some base's, you have USACIDC personel on their and there know more then Military Police Investigators in suits U.S ARMY CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION COMMAND. The only difference is that they CID have associates degrees.

  4. Thank You Mr. Bockman and Lee. God Bless You also may God Bless, and be with the family's of our departed Thin Blue Line!!
    To my partner Officer Jerrold J. Wyss you are thought of,and missed everyday.