Denver Police Fallen Officers Memorial Ceremony

Denver Police Fallen Officers Memorial Ceremony

On Friday, May 18, 2012, hundreds of Police Officers, Sheriff’s Deputies, and other Law Enforcement Officials will gather to recognize their fallen comrades at the 20th Annual Denver Police Department Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony. The tribute will be held at the Denver Police Law Enforcement Memorial located at 1331 Cherokee Street in front of the Denver Police Administration Building at 10:00 a.m. The names of the 67 Denver Police Officers who have been killed in the line of duty will be read so their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

"When duty called, there was no thought but answer;
No question, but the task that must be done.
Though Death their final payment for the victory,
For honor was the battle fought, and won.

No monument stands higher than their valor;
No words replace the loss of heroes, slain.
But if their names, remembered, give us courage,
Their sacrifice shall not have been in vain."

Everyone is welcome to come and join us as we honor our fallen protectors and friends.

In 2012 the names of four Fallen Officers have been added to the Memorial. Their stories are listed below;

Officer David L. Roberts, #79-036

On March 29, 1985, Officer Roberts was assisting a Detective with contacting suspects from a carjacking and robbery spree in the Denver and Lakewood area. The suspects were located at #198 South Clarkson St, Apt. #304, and were taken into custody. While the Detective and victim were outside, a suspect complained of his handcuffs being too tight. As Officer Roberts unlocked one side of the handcuffs, the suspect lunged past Roberts, retrieving a gun from a room divider, and shot Roberts once in the face. The suspect removed Roberts’ gun and attempted to shoot him with it, but was unsuccessful. The suspects then fled the area and were eventually apprehended.
Officer Roberts survived his initial wound, suffering severe brain injuries, but never fully recovered, requiring an immediate medical retirement from the Department. His health continued to deteriorate until his subsequent death on May 27th, 2011 from complications brought on by the original shooting.

Patrolman Samuel C. Carpenter
Special Policeman Stuart K. Harvey

On November 6, 1900, Officers Carpenter and Harvey were assigned to protect the Election Poll at Ward H, 2127 Larimer St., due to the controversy surrounding the election related to the formation of the City & County of Denver. Prior to the Polling Booth opening at 7am, a large crowd had gathered, and several illegally appointed Arapahoe County Sheriff Deputies had infiltrated the crowd, with specific orders to disrupt the election process. A “100 foot rule” for a buffer zone around the Polls had been established, and the Deputies began to violate that rule. Officers Carpenter and Harvey, along with several other Denver Officers, attempted to keep the crowd at bay. One of the Deputy Sheriffs pulled a revolver and was struck with a baton by an Officer, at which time several Deputies opened fire upon the Officers. The Officers were unable to return fire, and Officer Harvey was hit in the volley and immediately felled with a subsequently mortal wound. Officer Carpenter was struck multiple times in the gunfire, but was able to make it to the Call Box to summon help before collapsing. Special Officer Charles Green was also shot, but survived his injuries. Officer Carpenter’s injuries were career ending, with his subsequent death on January 17, 1910, ruled to have been “by reason of injuries sustained…, in performance of his duties as a Police Officer”. Harvey’s murderer was killed moments later by a Denver Detective. Harvey was our first Black Officer known to have been killed in the line of duty. Officer Willie O. Steam (LODD in 1921) was thought to have been the first, but he was an Officer and witness, to the Election Day shooting of the Denver Officers.

Patrolman Edward K. Smerdel, #773

On July 16th, 1961, Patrolman Smerdel was assigned to patrol duties in a solo car, 4pm-midnight shift, in the Five Points area. Daily “stand up” inspections were the norm at Roll Calls, with random inspections of firearms occurring. Patrolman Smerdel had stated to his co-workers, as well as some firemen at a nearby Fire Station, that he expected a weapons inspection at his next roll call. While having dinner at the Fire Station Patrolman Smerdel stated that he had not cleaned his weapon in a long time, and asked for some rags to use for that task. Throughout his shift, Smerdel responded to several calls for service, covering other Officers, and covered his last recorded call around 10pm. Patrolman Smerdel then returned to the Police Substation at 2607 Welton St, and began cleaning his weapon.
At around 11:20pm, fellow Officers cleared for a break, and upon arriving at the Substation discovered Patrolman Smerdel lying on the floor, with an apparent gunshot wound. Observed on the table were cleaning supplies, and five loose rounds for his service revolver. The subsequent investigation ruled his death an accident, but due to the current investigations into the Burglary Scandal at the time, his death was presented to a Coroner’s Inquest for review. Fellow Officers that served with him at the time have adamantly declared he had no part in that scandal, nor any character flaws to their knowledge. A recommendation for suicide was returned based upon the nature of a “self inflicted wound”. That verdict was appealed through Denver District Court, who ruled his death accidental, as well as the State Industrial Commission, which ruled his death accidental, and eventually to the Colorado Supreme Court. The Colorado Supreme Court upheld that decision of the previous panels, that “claimant produced substantial evidence to show decedent’s death was accidental” and Patrolman Smerdel “suffered death as a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment”.
Patrolman Smerdel left behind a widow, Blanche, and a young daughter, Susan. He was appointed as a Probationary Officer of the Denver Police Department on February 16, 1950, and to the Classified Service on August 16, 1950. Patrolman Smerdel received (16) Commendations or Commendatory Reports for incidents over his career, including rendering CPR to a 3yr old child brought into the Substation and not breathing, on March 13, 1961, thereby saving the child’s life, and the apprehensions of armed robbery suspects

Posted on May 18, 2012 (Archive on July 17, 2012)
Posted by kpellegrin  Contributed by kpellegrin