On Sunday, May 21, the LAPD Wilshire Community Police Station hosted an official groundbreaking ceremony for its new Fallen Police Officers Memorial and Garden, “remembering and honoring fallen police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty while serving Wilshire.”
The project was developed in partnership with the First in Fire Foundation, “and with generous donations from Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society, Loeb & Loeb, LLP, Park La Brea/Prime Group, Wertz Brothers Furniture, and California Auctioneers.”
Speakers at the event included Wilshire Division Commanding Officer Captain Sonia Monico, First in Fire President Lyn MacEwen Cohen, Rabbi Sholom Langsam, Wilshire Division Community Relations Officer in Charge Sgt. A.J. Kirby, City Council District 5 District Director George Hakopiants, Park La Brea Property Management Vice President Aryn Thomez, Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society President Richard Battaglia, and memorial and garden designer Joseph Guidera, who’s also a WSHPHS trustee.
Representatives of fallen officers’ families were also present, and the ceremony included a presentation of colors, wreath and Pledge of Allegiance by the LAPD Cadet Corps, as well as a presentation of the American flag by Marc S. Cohen
In her introductory remarks at the event, provided later to the Buzz, Lyn MacEwen Cohen said, “We join together today as Community in support of our local police officers who protect us so bravely and so well. And we come to remember and honor the ultimate sacrifice of 8 fallen officers and their families.”
Cohen thanked both LAPD and LAFD for their “unified command” serving the Wilshire Division area, as well as the offices of City Councilmembers Heather Hutt and Katy Yaroslavsky, and as the various donors and supporters of the project.
Cohen said she first brought the idea of beautifying the front garden at the Wilshire Division station to the local commanders eight years ago, and the palm trees planted then are still thriving. At the first meeting about that project, though, Cohen said the Captain “asked if we could please consider adding a Fallen Officers Memorial to the garden beautification project in front of the station.”
Cohen said that, “Because we believe in local heroes, because we believe in beauty transformation of public gardens, because we believe in miracles, I paused, thought about Unified Command, and I said, “Sure!””
“Today, over 8 years [later] and approved enthusiastically by six Commanding Officers of Wilshire & LAPD command staff, here we are breaking new ground.”
Cohen noted that construction of the memorial was halted during the pandemic, but with financial support and other donations from the WSHPHS, Loeb & Loeb, LLP, Park La Brea/Prime Group, and Wertz Brothers, they were finally able to install two large cement lions and two antique wrought iron benches, as well as refurbish the station’s rear entrance patio.
The lions, Cohen said, came from research for the project, which took her and her husband Marc to the National Police Memorial in Washington, D.C. That installation, Cohen said, includes “powerful lion sculptures with daffodil gardens – a lion and lioness guarding while cubs safely play nearby. The LION is the universal symbol of police – their stalwart vigilance, courage, innate power and respect, courage, protection, and fearlessness.” So the two lions included in the new Wilshire memorial show these “sentinels are on duty” with the same symbolism.
Cohen said the garden is scheduled to be completed in May, 2024, and will include “a centerpiece marble or granite obelisk with brass plaques honoring each fallen officer.”
Until then, Cohen said, “Our story continues, drama unfolds, history is in the making. Miracles do happen and dreams & come true. Meanwhile, we together bring our community strength here. We follow the hearts of our police officers heroes – those lost and those all around us. We are comforted to know: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth… but the righteous are bold as a lion.””
The program concluded with a reception hosted by the WSHPHS on the station’s rear patio.