As communities celebrate National Law Enforcement Week, the LAPD has been hosting events to remember the 208 LAPD officers that made the ultimate sacrifice.
On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Area Captain Ruby Flores welcomed honored guests and the members of the community to the unveiling of the fallen officer memorial at Hollenbeck Station. The Memorial is in honor of two beloved LAPD officers that died in the line of duty while assigned to Hollenbeck Station - Jerry W. Maddox and Steven Gerald Gajda.
The Memorial is located in Hollenbeck’s front plaza where two pathways converge, in front of a tree. The artist, Nijel Binns, created this Memorial to be emotionally experienced, mourning loss while also uplifting and inspiring.
The Memorial is 66 inches tall—the bronze 20 inches high, the base 46 inches high—with a footprint of 16 inches square at its base.
The top or “source” figure is a ¾-life-sized bronze sculpture entitled Lamentation. It is the emotional centerpiece of the Memorial. Nijel Binns decided to create a female figure because every fallen officer has a mother (present or past) lamenting a profound loss. The figure wears a covering over her head in mourning. Her head is covered and tilted, and her hand covers a face of pain and sorrow that represents every ethnicity in the human family. She is every mother, every wife, child, comrade, or loved one who has ever grieved a fallen officer. There is no need to focus on the pain that her eyes or her mouth might reveal, and instead the artist draws attention to her right hand and the American flag that it holds tightly to her bosom. The folded bronze flag is painted with red, white, and blue to underscore the ultimate sacrifice an officer gives to safeguard our nation.
Lamentation stands on a “Blue Pear” granite base that allows greater ease for the public to approach and experience the Memorial, and includes engravings and bronze elements.
Two laurel wreaths are engraved at the bottom of the base’s front side, and engraved in the center of the base’s two sides are vertically positioned medieval swords to symbolize the benevolent knighthood tradition.
There are also several bronze elements affixed onto the granite base. Two bronze nameplates are on its front, one for each Hollenbeck officer who has fallen in the line of duty: Steven Gadja and Jerry Maddox.
In addition, above their names plates is a bronze replica of the LAPD badge, known as a “shield,” representing every officer while also referencing the engraved swords and thereby reinforcing the concept of the proud knight. At the very bottom of the front of the base is a bronze Officer’s seal. Finally, on the sides of the base and above the engraved swords, are two bronze portrait medallions, one of Jerry Maddox and one of Steven Gadja, sculpted by the artist with the utmost consideration using photographs of the officers.
Jerry W. Maddox
End of Watch: Tuesday, August 19, 1969
On August 19, 1969, Hollenbeck Area Policeman Jerry Maddox was assigned to patrol in the Pico Gardens Housing Project. Policeman Maddox stopped to investigate a large party, which was attended by 18 to 24 youths. As the officers approached the location, one of the party goers ran from police. Policeman Maddox chased the suspect down a narrow driveway and while handcuffing the suspect he was shot in the back and died. Responding officers arrested the suspect at the scene.
Steven Gerald Gajda
End of Watch: Thursday, January 1, 1998
Officer Gajda died on January 1, 1998, after being shot in the head while assigned to stop people from shooting guns in the air on New Year's Eve. Officer Gajda and other officers stopped at a party which seemed out of control to issue a warning. While they were approaching several gang members fled and were pursued by the officers. Officer Gajda chased one man who appeared to have a weapon in his waistband and was shot in the ensuing struggle. Two officers on the scene returned fire, killing the 17-year-old suspect who had been wanted for murder since March of 1997. Officer Gajda is survived by his wife and two children.
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