In 1962, President Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Since 1791, over 21,739 Peace Officers have been killed in the line of duty. 105 of those killed in 2013 and 42 killed in 2014 already. These numbers are both shocking and sobering.
Even more shocking and sobering is the fact that five Turlock Police Officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. They are: Police Officer Lavon B. New, killed Aug. 14, 1935 in a motorcycle accident, Police Officers Glenn Winans and Joe Kerley both killed Nov. 1, 1949, after being struck by a train, as well as Police Officer George Bredenberg who died Nov. 4, 1949 from injuries sustained from the same train accident, and Police Officer Raymond Willert who was killed Feb. 9, 1973 after being shot by a robbery suspect.
One of the duties of Turlock Associated Police Officers (T.A.P.O.) is to make sure that the sacrifices these men made are not forgotten. One way of honoring them is through recognition of them and all Law Enforcement Officers during National Police Week. It is unfortunate that the Turlock City Council has yet again failed to recognize these men and the men and women of the Turlock Police Department. While the Council has made proclamations for other well deserving work groups and organizations within the City, there was no mention of Police Week at the most recent Council Meeting which was actually held during Police Week. The men and women of T.A.P.O. work hard to protect the citizens of Turlock with the little resources we have been provided. A simple act of recognition and thank you would go a long way in improving the morale of your Police Officers. It is T.A.P.O’s sincere hope that next year, the Council will take the time to honor the five Turlock Officers killed in the line of duty, and recognize the hard work, dedication, and commitment of the men and women of the Turlock Police Department.
— Russell Holeman