Published : Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | 5:37 AM
[Updated] Fallen first responders of the Pasadena Police Department and the Pasadena Fire Department will be honored in a ceremony at City Hall on Thursday.
From the City’s first loss of Officer John Slade in 1909, a total of seven police officers have died in the line of duty. The Pasadena Fire Dept. will be honoring 12.
Nationwide, 144 federal, state and local law enforcement officers died on the job in 2018 — an increase from the 129 officers who died on duty in 2017, according to The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The most recent U.S. Fire Administration report shows that 87 American firefighters died while on duty in 2017.
Thursday’s open-to-the-public Pasadena ceremony is the eighth of its kind.
The City’s Mayor, Police Chief and Fire Chief are scheduled to speak. The event will include a ceremonial law enforcement 21-gun salute by police and the Ringing of the Bell ceremony by firefighters.
Pasadena Chief of Police John Perez said the memorial service serves a purpose for the community as well as the families of the fallen.
“It is a time to reflect, appreciate, and honor those who have sacrificed for their community,” Perez said.
Perez said the memorial serves to help the community to “understand our history, have pride in what we do, and know what our profession stands for in our community.”
“Each one of our fallen heroes were daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, and friends to us all,” he also said. “We shall never forget our fallen heroes nor their commitments and sacrifices.”
And the sacrifices are plenty.
Lt. Sean Dawkins of Pasadena Police Department said families see the memorial as a way to keep in touch with those who their loved one worked with.
“Every year, I see the wife of one of the officers who has passed,” he said. “I think she appreciates the memorial because the department still continues to honor her husband’s service to the police department. So I think that’s very special to the family. They consider the police department to be another part of their family that they still interact with, and stay in touch with.”
Dawkins said his military background as a Navy medic has enabled him to come to terms with the fact that as a first responder there could be a day he doesn’t come home.
There are events across the country honoring first responders this week.
“It’s not just a ceremony but it’s also it’s a week to reflect on the service for everything law enforcement does and the unfortunate circumstances where we’ve lost some law enforcement officers,” said Jon Trautwein, Deputy Chief of Operations for Pasadena Fire Department.
“I think one first responder losing their life is too high a price,” he said. “But I do recognize that that’s the environment we live in.”
Trautwein said that the memorial also honors the families.
“For the survivors, it’s the hardest,” he said. “But being a first responder, it’s a family business,” he said. “And I don’t mean by that that that your whole family is a first responder, although some do have generations.”
“What I mean is having a support network of family and friends who are there for you to continue to empower you,” he said. “So the memorial is for the families, it’s to honor them with their loved one.”
Chief Perez encouraged the community to come and take part. There will also be refreshments in the Grand Lobby as the Pasadena Police Foundation presents a memorial gallery.
The memorial service starts at 10 a.m. in front of Pasadena City Hall at 100 North Garfield Avenue.