Tempe dedicates Public Safety Memorial honoring fallen heroes

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Answering the Call (Source: City of Tempe) Answering the Call (Source: City of Tempe)
(Source: Tempe Police Department) (Source: Tempe Police Department)
(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

The City of Tempe is honoring its fallen first responders with a new memorial at Tempe Beach Park.

“The memorial honors the Tempe firefighters, police officers and canines who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” Kris Baxter-Ging, a spokeswoman for the City, explained in a news release. “Not only does this memorial serve as a tribute to our fallen heroes, it is a place where families, friends and the community can come together to honor them.” 

Since 1919, the Tempe Police Department has lost six officers and three police dogs. Tempe’s Fire Medical Rescue Department has lost one firefighter.

Tempe's fallen police and fire heroes

  • K-9 Deuce (Oct. 29, 2014)
  • Detective Russell Elden Walker (May 15, 2009)
  • K-9 Baloo (July 1, 2008)
  • Officer Kevin Louis Weeks (Sept. 28, 2006)
  • Officer Robert Lyle Hawk (Sept. 24, 1988)
  • Lt. John Eaton Bradshaw (Sept. 20, 1987)
  • K-9 Murph (Nov. 21, 1986)
  • Firefighter/Paramedic Ed Gaiki (Jan. 15, 1980)
  • Night Marshal Cyrus Spangler (Jan. 11, 1921)
  • Officer Albert Nettle (May 19, 1919)

"This memorial is a reminder of the commitment our public service members make each day to protect and to serve us,” Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Fire Chief Greg Ruiz said. “It will forever be a reminder of the sacrifices made in the past and the sacrifices we hope will never be made again in the future."

"Our police and firefighters truly help hold our community together. They keep our community at peace. They keep our children safe, our traffic moving and so much more," Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said. "In order to do this, our police and firefighters put their lives on the line every day. The Tempe Safety Memorial is a way we can honor those who gave their all to keeping us safe."

The official name of the Tempe Public Safety Memorial, which was sculpted by artist Benjamin Victor, Answering the Call.

"Answering the Call is an appropriate name for the Tempe Public Safety Memorial, as this exemplifies the commitment to selfless service at the center of the design. The memorial depicts a police officer, firefighter, and canine as they move towards someone in need," Tempe Chief of Police Sylvia Moir said. "This memorial guarantees that we will never forget the brave souls who lost their lives guarding others in Tempe."

The memorial was dedicated at a special ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

Community donations for the memorial were matched by the City. The Tempe Police Foundation is still accepting donations to fund ongoing maintenance for the memorial. 

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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