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Commander Paul Gillen Memorial Service

November 19, 2009 – In a small ceremony held in front of the Police Memorial at the new Police Administration Building, Commander Paul Gillen was memorialized for his service and sacrifice to the Department and City. 

Cmdr_Gillen_Memorial_010 Family members including Commander Gillen’s wife Margie, dignitaries, active and retired personnel and invited guests watched as Assistant Commanding Officer of Special Operations Bureau, Commander Scott Kroeber unveiled the portrait of Commander Gillen which will be permanently displayed in the new Police Administration Building.  Police Chief Charlie Beck also presented Commander Gillen’s widow with the Purple Heart which is awarded to officers who are wounded or killed in the line of duty.  The ceremony also included a helicopter flyover and a wreath laying at the Memorial.

Cmdr_Gillen_Memorial_021 On May 29, 1974, Commander Paul Gillen was killed in a Department helicopter crash.  Commander Gillen was the commanding officer of Uniformed Services Group, and at the time of the crash, he was on board an aircraft that was involved in SWAT training.


A blog comment in the Jan,2010 Blue Line issue (blog posted 11-30-09) re the Purple Heart presented to Cmdr. Gillen's widow,Margie had an incorrect statement. The blog indicated that two (2) other officers were killed in the helicopter crash and also deserved the Purple Heart.This is incorrect as I (a LAPD Helicopter Pilot in 1974)know that the pilot(Sgt. Dave McGill) was seriously injured and the two(2) SWAT officers,( I seem to recall they were Rick Kelbaugh & Jack Jones) were also severely injured due to impact & burns, How-ever, all three survived.Commander Gillen was the one and only fatality.

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