FAIRFIELD — A trumpet player stood at the memorial for 18 fallen Solano County peace officers and played a slow, mournful version of taps.
Dozens of law enforcement officials stood and watched from a closed Union Street in front of the Sheriff’s Office. They, family members and local officials on Wednesday attended the noontime, 25th annual Peace Officers’ Memorial Service.
Eighteen Solano County peace officers have been killed on the job since 1982, starting with Rio Vista Constable John Howard in June 1892 and ending with Vallejo Police Officer James Capoot in November 2011. Many got killed by gunfire, some in traffic accidents, one in an aircraft accident. Each are represented by a star along a slanting concrete wall about 4 feet high.
Each officer was part of the fabric of the community, retired Benicia Police Capt. Steve Mortensen told the gathering.
“All too soon, each of them left a void in someone’s life,” he said.
Law enforcement is a dangerous job, Mortensen said. On the days the 18 officers died, they expected to return to their loved ones at the end of their shifts, he said.
Fairfield Police Chief Walt Tibbet also addressed the gathering. He talked about how President John F. Kennedy in 1962 designated a Peace Officers’ Memorial Day.
“Today is a reminder for the nation and Solano County that the danger peace officers face each and every day is very real,” Tibbet said.
He noted that this year is the 30th anniversary of the death of Fairfield Police Officer Arthur Koch, who was shot July 28, 1984, while responding to a disturbance on Berkeley Way. He died the next day. Koch is the only Fairfield officer among the 18 on the wall.
One hundred law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the U.S. in 2013, Tibbet said. Eight were killed in California.
Tibbet also talked about the peace officers present at the ceremony.
“Only a few are called to our profession,” Tibbet said. “Ordinary men and women who are called to do extraordinary things.”
Chaplain Rick Stonestreet gave the invocation and Kim Alexander-Yarbor sang “Dancing in the Sky.” The ceremony closed with Briar Segal playing taps and Teri Ewell playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
The Solano County Retired Peace Officers’ Association sponsored the local ceremony. The National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service took place May 15 in Washington, D.C.
These are the 18 Solano County peace officers killed in the line of duty since 1892:
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.