PHOENIX — Since the Arizona Peace Officers Memorial was first dedicated in 1988, 388 names have been added to the eight double-sided panels surrounding the iconic bronze statue. Twenty-six of those names include officers who died in 2021.
A procession to Wesley Bolin Plaza outside the state capitol lasted 14 minutes Monday as each of the 26 officers who died last year were remembered.
"It never gets easier. I was just talking to my sister-in-law,” said Lisa Wargo. Her husband, a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy, was shot and killed in 2012.
Wargo, along with her sister-in-law, discussed her husband's shooting death that happened in 2012.
"Yesterday was my husband's 10th anniversary, his end of watch. It still hits me today like a ton of bricks as if it was the first year,” added Wargo.
She, like many others, attended Arizona's 48th Annual Peace Officers Memorial ceremony for the local, state, and federal officers who passed last year.
The list of names is the longest yet.
"Being here and supporting the families, who have lost recent officers, they are heroes. Just being a part of this with my family has been special through the years,” said Maria Garcia, a family member of a fallen officer.
In addition to those names being etched into stone, and becoming a long-lasting visual reminder to all, every one of them were spoken during a roll call to be heard.
"These people put their lives on the line to keep us safe in our homes, and in our communities,” said Governor Doug Ducey.
The ceremony included a riderless horse, a silent motorcycle procession, and rifle salute among other tributes.