November 5, 2007

City Unveils Public Safety Monument

On Saturday, November 3, 2007, the City of San Leandro unveiled a Public Safety Monument in honor of public safety officers' sacrifice and service. The $83,500 monument by Monument Arts, Inc. was approved at the February 20, 2007, City Council meeting.

Speakers included California State Senator and former San Leandro Mayor Ellen Corbett, California State Assemblymember Mary Hayashi, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, Mayor Tony Santos, Alameda County Fire Chief Sheldon Gilbert and San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian. All of the current City Council except Bill Stephens and many former City Council members attended the ceremony. Former Police Chief Joe Kitchen and former Fire Chief Bill McCammon were also on-hand.

The names of three police officers and one firefighter who died or were killed on-duty were engraved on the monument and all speakers expressed hope that no more names would be added to the monument.

The monument includes the engraved words:

To Serve

We serve the public for the good of the community, to uplift the fallen, to protect the defenseless, to comfort those in need, and to ensure the safety of all. We are the police and firefighters of San Leandro.

The tools of our trade are much more than the metal, plastic, and rubber from which they are made. These tools become an extension of the hearts and hands of the professionals who use them.

Touch them and you touch us.

The program for the event included the following information about the men memorialized on the monument:

Officer Frederick R. Haller
Dates of Service: July 25, 1955 to April 20, 1961
Officer Haller was on routine patrol when he was shot and killed in his patrol car by an unknown assailant.

Firefighter Lyle K. Gruggel
Dates of Service: January 1, 1958 to April 8, 1966
Firefighter Gruggel became ill while performing his firefighting duties. He was rushed to the hospital where he died three hours later of a heart attack.

Officer Donald F. Spingola
Dates of Service: August 1, 1969 to October 1, 1969
Reserve Officer Spingola was accidentally killed after being struck by a ricochet bullet that had been fired by another officer at an escaping burglary suspect.

Officer Nels Daniel Niemi
Dates of Service: February 4, 2002 to July 25, 2005
Officer Niemi was shot and killed while investigating a disturbance complaint.

Proposed monument to San Leandro's Public Safety organizations
A drawing of the proposed monument.

Photo of portion of actual public safety monument
A photo of a portion of the actual monument.

The monument is located on the east wall of the San Leandro Police Department building just north of the entrance.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at November 5, 2007 9:39 AM | TrackBack
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