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.