Santa Paula Times

The Santa Paula Police Memorial is about to updated for a rededication to take place in May the day before the start of National Police Week.

Benches planned: Santa Paula Police Memorial to be updated, rededicated

February 24, 2016
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Police Memorial is about to be updated for a rededication to take place in May the day before the start of National Police Week.

Reserve Captain Brad Tallent said the effort now underway will allow past SPPD personnel to order bricks, or if they already have a brick at SPPD Memorial Plaza — located just west of the Depot — to have it updated if need be. In addition, there will be two benches placed at the memorial to honor two SPPD members who died in separate off-duty traffic accidents.

Reserve Officer David Bartlett and SPPD Officer Kimberly Hemminger-were tragically killed in 2012 in accidents that occurred February 15 and July 22 respectively. 

Tallent said there were several factors that prompted the revamping and rededication: “The Bartletts and Hemmingers wanted their bricks updated but it’s hard to do with just two…I had contacted Carlos Juarez,” a retired SPPD Lt., “last year and he said the five year anniversary was coming up,” a good time to update and rededicate the memorial.

“We spoke to SPPD Commander Ish Cordero and he said to go for it!”

The SPPD Memorial was dedicated in May 2011 in honor of Marshal Henry Norman, gunned down in 1913, and SPPD Officer James Barmore, who was killed in a motorcycle crash while responding to a call in February 1953.

At the time the memorial was dedicated Juarez had curated an exhibit at the California Oil Museum detailing the history of the SPPD.

“Carlos is an old friend, we split the tasks and we’re getting a lot of traction quickly…he’s extremely helpful in getting these things done,” said Tallent who has started inventoring all the bricks by taking photographs of each. 

A few bricks are damaged but Tallent is “Impressed that the park has never been vandalized…no graffiti whatever,” on the impressive obelisk paying tribute to Norman and Barmore.

“National Police Week officially kicks off May 15 and we’ll do the dedication May 14…it’s very appropriate to do the rededication now as we have plenty of space for more bricks,” on the west side of the monument near the Gazebo at East Santa Barbara and Mill streets.

Flyers about the new effort have already been distributed to SPPD personnel including those that might want their bricks updated to include new rank or a service ending date; the cost for an update is $50.

Tallent said there is even some thought going into adding bricks to recognize SPPD benchmarks. Bricks are now available for purchase and engraving ($125 each) to members of Citizens Patrol, Explorers, Community Service Officers and Cadets with a minimum of one-year of service.

Donations are being sought for the two benches ($1,500 each) that will be installed on a new concrete foundation with brick veneer facing the memorial, one each dedicated to Bartlett and Hemminger. 

“Each bench, they will match the others in the Railroad Plaza Park area, will be personalized,” said Tallent who will consult with the families on the plaques.

The memorial area much like the rest of Railroad Plaza Park has become overgrown with weeds; the park is littered with trash and has become a gathering and sleeping place for the homeless.

Said Tallent, “They’re going to groom the park, we’re getting Community Services involved right now, and if our fundraising is successful we could have enough to do more landscaping. 

“Once the city has cleaned it up,” he noted, “we’ll have the Explorers maintain it.”

The deadline to purchase a new or update a brick is April 8, 2016.

All donations — as a gift, to purchase/update a brick or to sponsor a memorial bench and plaque — are tax deductible and can be sent to the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation, PO Box 162, Santa Paula, CA 930610.

For more information and to obtain a form call Tallent at the SPPD, 805-525-4474 x183.