A Time to Honor the Fallen

April 29 is a solemn occasion for LAAPOA as we remember the life, service and sacrifice of LAXPD Officer Tommy Edward Scott, who was killed in the line of duty on that day in 2005 while heroically protecting the aviation community from a man intent on crashing a vehicle into an airplane on the LAX airport runway. Throughout the next month, we will continue to pay tribute to Scott and all our fallen brethren as we observe the California Peace Officers’ Memorial ceremonies followed by National Police Week and National Peace Officers Memorial Day. These events are poignant reminders of the risks law enforcement officers take every day to protect and serve their communities — a time to mourn, reflect, gather in solidarity and show surviving family members and colleagues that their loss will never be forgotten.

Next week marks the 19th anniversary of the tragic day when 35-year-old Tommy Scott became the first police officer to die in the line of duty in the history of the Airport Police force, as he was struggling to stop a man who commandeered his patrol car near the airport and dragged the officer alongside the vehicle at high speed until striking a fire hydrant, killing Scott instantly. Scott had joined the Airport Police on October 7, 2001, graduating from Rio Hondo Police Academy on February 21, 2002. Before that, he worked as an aquatic supervisor for the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation for 15 years, where he notably saved two children from drowning. At the time of his death, Scott served as a field training officer. He was fondly remembered by his colleagues as being one of the kindest officers on the force, with a contagious smile and positive energy. LAAPOA has kept his legacy alive through the Los Angeles Airport Police Athletics & Activities League (LAAPAAL) Tommy Scott Memorial Scholarship Fund, which has provided scholarships to dozens of deserving students in his memory over the years. LAAPOA was also vocal in supporting California State Senator Ben Allen’s Officer Tommy Scott Memorial Highway Bill (SCR-39), which was introduced in 2021 and passed in 2022. In June 2023, signs honoring Scott were installed on the north and southbound portions of Interstate 405 near LAX, a permanent reminder of his courage and his dedication to the community.

The month of May has been a sacred time for law enforcement since 1962, when President John F. Kennedy established May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Many local and state agencies and organizations across the U.S. hold annual memorial events around this time to pay homage to officers fallen in the line of duty. Each year, along with Scott, LAAPOA remembers the others within our own ranks whom we lost too soon, including Captain Albert E. Torres (EOW: October 12, 2019), the first Los Angeles Park Ranger killed in the line of duty. We also honor the memory of the more than 1,600 officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice since California became a state, whose names are engraved on the Peace Officers’ Memorial monument in Sacramento. This year, during the candlelight vigil on May 5 and the enrollment ceremony on May 6, California will recognize four officers killed in the line of duty in 2023, three more who died in 2021 and one from the distant past. For more information on the California memorial ceremonies, visit camemorial.org.  

Detective Donald A. Mason
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
EOW: December 23, 1959

Officer Philip T. Sudario
Los Angeles Police Department
EOW: January 25, 2021

Sergeant Patricia Guillen
Los Angeles Police Department
EOW: January 28, 2021

Sergeant Anthony White
Los Angeles Police Department
EOW: April 15, 2021

Deputy Darnell Calhoun
Riverside County Sheriff’s Office
EOW: January 13, 2023

Officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr.
Selma Police Department
EOW: January 31, 2023

Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
EOW: September 16, 2023

Officer Tuan Le
Oakland Police Department
EOW: December 29, 2023

The four fallen heroes from 2023 listed above, along with seven other California line-of-duty deaths from the past several years, are being further memorialized in ceremonies in Washington, D.C., during National Police Week, May 12–18. Their names are among those of the 282 U.S. peace officers — 118 who were killed in 2023 and 164 from previous years — added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year. They and the rest of the more than 23,000 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history will be honored in annual events such as the Police Unity Tour (concludes in D.C. on May 12), the Candlelight Vigil (May 13), the National Police Survivors’ Conference (May 14 and 16) and the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service (May 15). Police dogs will also be honored during the annual National Police K-9 Memorial Service on May 11. For more information on these and many more events, visit policeweek.org and nleomf.org/memorial/programs/national-police-week-2024.

“We will always carry the memory of our brothers, Tommy Scott and Albert E. Torres, in our hearts, and we salute all of the fallen officers throughout the state and nationwide, offering our deepest condolences and continuing strength to the loved ones and colleagues they left behind,” LAAPOA President Marshall McClain says. “We encourage our entire law enforcement family, as well as our supporters, partners and members of the public, to make every effort to attend local, state and national ceremonies to help honor our heroes and support their survivors. Whatever you do, please take some time during this memorial month to remember with reverence and gratitude those who gave their lives in service to their communities.”