California Peace Officers Memorial

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Capitol Park Tour Stop 12

"In the Line of Duty"
Fallen Officers FamilyThis memorial is dedicated to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting the citizens of the State of California.

Dedicated in May 13, 1988, the centerpiece of the monument is a thirteen foot tall bronze relief sculpture featuring three law enforcement officers; a 1880s county sheriff, a 1930s state traffic officer, and a 1980s city patrolman. Together, these figures represent the evolution of law enforcement in California. On the base of the monument, designers had inscribed these simple yet poignant words: “In the Line of Duty.” Along the back of the monument and on brick planter box in from of the monument, are individual plaques upon which the names of officers who lost their lives while serving the public are inscribed.

Another important element of the monument is a sculpture depicting a woman comforting a child. Done in bronze, the seated woman is rests on a bench embracing a child standing in front of her. Peace Officer MemorialNext to them on the bench is a bronze folded American flag. The woman and child provide a vivid and permanent sense of the grief that family members and friends experience each year when, during the week of May 15, they gather to honor the officers who have fallen in the line of duty during the preceding year. As part of the ceremony, officers’ names are read and then added to the memorial so that the public will not forget their sacrifice. Today, 1,315 names dating back to the nineteenth century are listed on the monument.

It is fitting that the artist who designed the monument was himself a retired police officer. Retired Division Chief Vic Riesau, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, not only designed the monument and created the artwork but also assisted with the fundraising efforts. The influence of both his tenure as a police officer and his activities as an artist lend themselves to this striking and meaningful monument.
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