Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Fallen peace officers memorialized at annual ceremony in Colorado Springs

By: Ben Bartenstein, ben.bartenstein@gazette.com
May 16, 2014 Updated: May 16, 2014 at 10:51 pm
0
photo - Police academy cadets release 31 balloons, one for each of the fallen peace officers from the El Paso Country region, Friday, May 16, 2014, during the 21st annual Peace Officers' Memorial Day Service in Memorial Park.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Police academy cadets release 31 balloons, one for each of the fallen peace officers from the El Paso Country region, Friday, May 16, 2014, during the 21st annual Peace Officers' Memorial Day Service in Memorial Park. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

Blue balloons floated one-by-one into the sky at Memorial Park Friday morning as Colorado Springs Police Department Lt. Catherine Buckley read the names of 30 fallen peace officers from the Pikes Peak area. Minutes later, more than a dozen doves were released into the air, with Pikes Peak as the backdrop.

Amid windy conditions, several hundred local law enforcement officials family, and friends honored the fallen officers at the 21st annual ceremony, which paid special tribute to Tom Clements and Jack Coler.

Clements, who was head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was shot to death in March 2013 when he answered the door at his Monument-area home. The shooting suspect was a former inmate who was killed in a shootout in Texas.

Coler, a former special agent for the FBI, was murdered in 1975 while attempting to serve arrest warrants on the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Coler was in the Denver Field Office as a Colorado Springs resident agent, and was in South Dakota for a temporary 60-day assignment. His wife and two young boys stayed behind in Colorado Springs.

"These men and women are there for us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," said state Sen. Bernie Herpin of Colorado Springs, who gave the keynote address. "They do not rest in the pursuit of justice."

Col. David Grosso, the Fort Carson garrison commander, also spoke at the event, emphasizing the close relationship between local military and police officials.

Holding the ceremony at Memorial Park presages the erection of a new Peace Officers Memorial, which will join the Veterans Memorial and Firefighters Memorial already on site. The Pikes Peak Region Peace Officers' Memorial Board set a 36-month goal to get the new memorial in place.

"It's a fitting tribute to all who have given their all in service to their community and their country," Grosso said.

The new memorial construction will cost nearly $1.1 million,, according to Colorado Springs Police Lt. Dave Edmondson, chairman of the Peace Officers' Memorial Board. The board has $220,000, but Edmondson expects that total to surpass $300,000 after Saturday's Peace Officers' Memorial Ball, to be held at the Colorado Springs Marriott.

The new memorial will honor more than a century of fallen officers, from William Shea, who was murdered in 1895, to Clements. "They are aiming for the 2017 ceremony to be held at the new memorial," Edmondson said. "We could possibly have the 2016 memorial there. I think that is very reasonable."

Comment Policy
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.