He wasn’t originally on the program, but Seattle Police Chief John Diaz was a last-minute addition to this afternoon’s ceremony at West Seattle’s Forest Lawn Cemetery, paying tribute to the 58 members of the force who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The SPD Honor Guard carried the flags, and the relatively new Seattle Police Pipes and Drums made their first Forest Lawn appearance. The podium stood where a permanent memorial to Seattle’s fallen officers will be built, within a year or two, as Forest Lawn’s David Salove explained. Here’s our video of the entire 48-minute event:
Keynote speaker was retired Sgt. Frank Kampsen, who founded the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation; the state memorial was dedicated in Olympia in 2006. In our photo below, he is second from right; second from left is Deputy Chief Nick Metz, who also spoke; Chief Diaz is between them:
Sgt. Kampsen recalled how his career in both the U.S. Marine Corps and SPD led him down a path of ensuring proper tributes for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. “Never forget these heroes – never,” he said, concluding with, for those who serve now, advice to remember: “Your profession is law enforcement. Your job is to come home at the end of your shift.”
Members of two slain officers’ families were also among the more than 60 people there: Officers Joselito Barber, killed by a speeding driver in 2006, and Timothy Brenton, the West Seattle High School graduate killed in 2009. Coincidentally, Officer Brenton’s accused killer was in court today; the judge set his trial for this September.
Today’s ceremony was followed by a lunch hosted by Forest Lawn:
To get involved with the planning and construction of the Seattle Police Memorial there, call 206-932-0050.