Dozens of officers from multiple municipalities, along with Valencia staff and students, were in attendance for the unveiling of the new fallen officer memorial at Valencia’s Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) on Wednesday, Aug.18.
The memorial was donated by the Basic Law Enforcement Class 2010-11. In addition to their rigorous course work, the students raised more than $2,000 and performed all the labor needed to install the memorial.
“It was the right thing to do,” said Pedro Roman, president of the class. “We need a reminder to everyone who enters the academy.”
The ceremony was held in honor of Officer Carl Smith and Deputy Craig Heber. Both families were in attendance and each laid flowers at the base of the memorial, surrounded by police motorcycle units, mounted police, and the students themselves.
“This has been an amazing honor,” said LuAnn Smith, wife of Officer Smith and a police officer for more than 25 years. “This just shows how much everyone has cared, and the amazing effort put forth by this recruit class.”
“It’s a very good honor to my husband, because he was a wonderful person and he definitely deserved this,” said Cheryl Heber, Deputy Heber’s wife, who watched as a police helicopter circled in the sky above.
The memorial is a black granite slab bearing a plaque inscribed “Fallen Heroes” and is dedicated to honoring “…the valor in their hearts and the fortitude they showed in the face of death.”
Jeff Golz, Director of the Criminal Justice Institute, conducted the ceremony. “This donation is by far the biggest and most elaborate donation we’ve had,” said Golz. “[The recruit class] demonstrated service early in their career. “They’re going to be good police officers.”