Dedicated on May 13, 1988, the centerpiece of the monument is a thirteen-foot-tall bronze relief sculpture depicting three law enforcement officers: an 1880s county sheriff, a 1930s state traffic officer, and a 1980s city patrolman. Together, these figures represent the evolution of law enforcement in California. On the base of the monument, designers inscribed these simple yet poignant words: “In the Line of Duty.” Along the back of the monument, and on the brick planter box in front of the monument, are individual plaques inscribed with the names of officers who lost their lives while serving the public.
Another important element of the monument is a sculpture depicting a woman comforting a child. Cast in bronze, the seated woman rests on a bench embracing the child standing in front of her. Beside them on the bench is a folded, bronze folded American flag. The woman and child serve as a vivid and permanent reminder of the grief that family members and friends experience each year when, during the week of May 15, they gather to honor the officers who have fallen in the line of duty during the preceding year. As part of the ceremony, officers’ names are read and added to the memorial so that the public will not forget their sacrifice. Some names on the monument date back as far as the nineteenth century.
It is fitting that the artist who designed the monument was himself a retired police officer. Retired Division Chief Vic Riesau, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, not only designed the monument and created the artwork but also assisted with the fundraising efforts. The influence of both his tenure as a police officer and his experience as an artist lend themselves to this striking and meaningful monument.