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Local News

Santa Barbara Police Still Short of Fundraising Goal to Build Memorial for Fallen Officers

The Santa Barbara Police Department is still short of its fundraising goal to build a memorial for fallen officers, but city officials pushed the project forward this week.

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday voted to approve a $60,000 professional services agreement with Paso Robles-based Genesis Bronze to complete work on the bronze statue slated to adorn the front lawn of the police station at 215 E. Figueroa St.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said the department had raised about a third of that total as of this week — nearly a month after police originally had hoped to dedicate the memorial.

The department plans to pay for the memorial with donations only, he said, but city officials wanted to approve a contract ahead of time for liability reasons. Donations have been going into a city-created account.

In an effort to raise money to get the memorial completed by this fall, officers will host a benefit golf tournament on Friday, Aug. 21 at Glen Annie Golf Club in Goleta.

“It’s definitely taken longer than anticipated,” Harwood said. “It’s going well I think. It’s hard to foresee the various issues that arise in a project like this. I’m confident that it’s going to happen. Many of us are anxious to see it move forward.”

Santa Barbara police began fundraising for the project last October, around the same time officers began reaching out to the families of the five officers killed in the line of duty during the department’s more-than-100-year history.

The fallen police officers, in order of most recent, include Detective Thomas Guerry, who was shot and killed by a robbery suspect on Jan. 13, 1970.

Officer Henry Evans was 32 when he responded to a vehicle accident on Oct. 22, 1940. A frightened victim, injured in the crash, asked him to travel along in the ambulance, which was struck on the way to the hospital by a tanker truck, killing Evans.

Officer Clarence Jensen, 34, died on Oct. 18, 1932 in a vehicle pursuit while riding a motorcycle.

Officer Ronald Wainscott, 27, died on Jan. 12, 1931 in a vehicle accident involving a motorcycle.

Officer Richard Williams died at age 38 on Dec. 19, 1921 from injuries suffered months earlier in a horse accident on the Fourth of July.

In addition to the $60,000, Harwood said the department must raise a few thousand more to complete site improvements under terms of approval from several city commissions.

He said the department can focus more on fundraising now that approvals were granted for the project, which will feature a life-sized statue of a police officer comforting a young girl holding a flag that would have been given to the family of a fallen officer.

Harwood said anyone interested in donating can contact him at [email protected].

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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