GOLDEN, Colo. (KDVR) — The names of nine more Colorado law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty are now permanently engraved on the state’s memorial.
Their service was honored at a somber ceremony on Friday. Last year’s ceremony was delayed because of COVID-19, so this recognized officers killed in 2019 and 2020.
There are 325 officers’ names engraved on the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial. This now includes:
- CSP Troopers Daniel Groves and William Moden, who were killed in crashes in 2019;
- El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Hopkins, who died last year after contracting COVID-19 while working in the jail; and
- Commerce City Detective Curt Holland, who was killed by an alleged drunk driver last October.
“These honors are hard, but at the same time, you realize that your son was doing — as the governor said — he was doing it for the people of Colorado. It’s what he loved to do. It is wonderful for him to get recognition for that,” Holland’s father, Carl Holland, said.
‘Our lives — my family’s lives — will never be the same’
Holland said his family is taking it day by day.
“When somebody loses a loved one, we all go back to our lives a week later. And our lives, my family’s lives, will never be the same. But at the same time, decided very early on to be thankful for the 37 years we had and not be angry about what we lost, because the good Lord didn’t have to give him to us, but he did. We’re OK. We’ll get through it and hopefully, our presence will help someone else get through some other tragedy someday,” Holland said.
He said he is comforted by the continuing outpouring of love and support from the community.
“We see what goes on in the world, hear so much negative. In the last 10 months, I have found out there are so many good people in this world. It just lifts your spirits. How could you not want to wake up in the morning and go on and do better in your own life?” Holland said.
Gov. Jared Polis proclaimed Sept. 3, 2021, “Law Enforcement Memorial Day.” He acknowledged the risk law enforcement officers are willing to take every single day — something not lost on the class of cadets from Front Range Community College, who went to pay their respects.
“I think the officers who have fallen have made the ultimate sacrifice, have done the best they can. I think all of us in the community, regardless of law enforcement or civilian, should honor these men and women,” said Trystan Jones, a police cadet.
“Both my parents were in law enforcement and are retired now. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a little scary at times Worried about the public support, but I think all of us in this class just want to help people and get into this line of work to do better and make changes,” Jones continued.
“There’s a lot of men and women out there serving. We do tend to take officers for granted. We only tend to hear about them when something negative happens, and 99% of them are like my son. They do it because they want to help people and their communities. To be recognized for that, it’s a wonderful day for that,” Holland said.
Polis said it may not be realistic, but he prays no more names will need to be added to this memorial.
“On behalf of a grateful state of Colorado, thank you to those who serve, thank you to those we lost, thank you to the families who continue on with the memory of their heroes,” Polis said.
Past line-of-duty deaths honored
The committee also honored five officers whose names were also added this year, dating back to 1918:
- John M. McKee, a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputy, died on April 19, 1918 from injuries received during an arrest nine months earlier. The suspect kicked Deputy McKee in the head, causing severe injuries.
- Alfred A. Personet, a Prowers County Deputy Sheriff, was shot and killed as he attempted to disarm a subject who was attempting to gain entry into a home in Granada on June 7, 1935. Personett answered a call to a residence where the man was attempting to gain entry to demand the whereabouts of his wife and daughter. When Personett disarmed the suspect, the man produced a second gun and fatally shot him multiple times.
- Raymundo Martinez, a Conejos County Sheriff’s Deputy, was shot and killed during an arrest south of Monte Vista on April 10, 1940. He was responding to a domestic dispute when gunfire erupted. Three others caught in the crossfire were also killed.
- Alva E. Thompson, with the Craig Marshal’s Office, was accidentally shot and killed when his gun fell and discharged on October 13, 1940.
- Edward A. Martinez, a Denver Sheriff’s Deputy, died from a heart attack after a fight with a prisoner on November 15, 1980. He had served with the Sheriff’s Department for 11 months.