Two days after a man armed with three weapons fired on Long Beach officers during a pre-dawn gun battle, the Southern California department honored the 28 officers who have died in the line of duty.
The Long Beach Police Department, which polices the state's fifth largest city (and 36th in the nation), collectively remembered its 28 members who died in the line of duty. Thirteen firefighters were also memorialized.
The police and fire memorial service, which took place on a patch of grass behind City Hall, has become the department's annual tradition of saluting its fallen law-enforcement personnel, a department spokeswoman said.
Sgt. Darren Davenport, a SWAT member whose father's name was added to the list in 2003, said the memorial is a stark reminder about the dangers of police work.
Davenport's brother and nephew have also served in the department. Cpl. Edward Davenport, a 42-year veteran, suffered fatal injuries, when he fell from a ladder at the department's firing range in 2003.
Before Davenport, Daryle Black was shot and killed in 2000, when suspected gang members sprayed his patrol car with 15 bullets from an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle.
Long Beach Police Chief Anthony Batts recounted his own impressions as an 8-year-old boy walking the streets of South Los Angeles on his way to school, where he saw violence firsthand. He said the experience inspired him to enter the law enforcement field.
"No amount of money can pay for our sacrifice," Batts said. "We don't do it for the money. We don't do it for the praise. We do it for those 8-year-old boys walking to school."
During the Tuesday ceremony, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster emphasized the importance, and danger, of a public-safety career in police or fire. Loren Gregory sang "Wind Beneath My Wings," and the honor guard delivered a 21-gun salute.
The ceremony occurred with a fresh memory of the threat police officers can face, while pursuing suspects.
On May 3, James Neal Tuggle allegedly opened fire on police officers at one location, fled while armed with three weapons to a second location and allegedly shot at an arriving Long Beach police unit, before he was fatally shot by an officer.