FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Criminal Justice Degrees - Columbia Southern University
Let Columbia Southern University help you change your community with an MBA in...

Top News

LAPD Officer Up for Medal of Valor 61 Years After Death

May 31, 2007  | 

On Feb. 4, 1946, Officer Walter Kesterson of the Los Angeles Police Department was working in plain clothes near the Los Angeles Coliseum. Nearby, bandits robbed a movie theater of $90, threatening the teller at gunpoint. Kesterson and his partner spotted two men who fit the description of the suspects standing on the corner of 43rd Place and Avalon Boulevard. Kesterson got out of the car, but the suspects pegged him for a cop. One of the men pulled a .38 revolver and shot Kesterson, 51, in the chest. Mortally wounded, Kesterson returned fire, killing both suspects. Detectives later learned that one of the suspects had murdered a Vernon, Calif., officer.

Kesterson was the first officer of the Metropolitan Division of the LAPD to be killed in action. His picture hangs on the wall inside the Metro Division station, and an LAPD valor award is named for him.

But other than the fact that his bravery and his marksmanship are well honored in LAPD lore, Kesterson was never decorated for the action that killed him. Later this year, the department hopes to give Kesterson his due and award him the Medal of Valor. The commendation by the department must be approved by the ultra-liberal Los Angeles Police Commission, but it is expected to make the cut. Kesterson's 78-year-old nephew plans to attend the ceremony.

"There is no statute of limitation on heroism," Capt. Scott Kroeber of the Metro Division told the Los Angeles Times. Kroeber decided to take up Kesterson's case when he read accounts of the shooting two years ago in a Los Angeles Police Historical Society article. The article noted that Kesterson did not receive a commendation. "He's part of the legend and lore of Metro. We don't glorify violence, but we do honor courage," Kroeber said to the Times.

Request more info about this product / service / company

Be the first to comment on this story

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Texas Department Wants to Eliminate College Requirement for Officers
In an effort to increase the number of potential new recruits eligible to join the agency,...
New Los Angeles Sheriff Shaking Up Top Ranks, Removing 18 Executives
Newly elected Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has reportedly notified nearly...

Police Magazine