Los Angeles Police Department Memorial to Fallen Officers

The new LAPD Memorial to Fallen Officers stands as a testament to strength and courage.  As a memorial, it is dedicated to the police officers and families who have sacrificed for the community of Los Angeles.  The memorial comes as a result of the construction of a new police administration building in Los Angeles. A previous memorial for fallen officers was damaged during the new building's construction.  As this building was nearing completion, designs for a new memorial were considered.

We focused on the object most sacred to the LAPD: the brass badge.

David Herjeczki Principal, at Gensler


David Herjeczki and Christopher Keough of Gensler won the design competition. Their concept is multi-layered in meaning and in design. “When you approach it from a distance, it will appear as a wall, reflecting the unity of the police force,” explains David Herjeczki of Gensler. “As you get closer, you will see it is an assemblage of individual pieces, each one paying tribute to a fallen officer. When contemplating an appropriate material for the memorial, we focused on the object most sacred to the LAPD: the brass badge.”

LAPD Memorial
LAPD Memorial
LAPD Memorial

Designing and Fabricating the Brass Memorial

To fabricate the 32' long by 12'- 3” tall brass memorial, Kansas City based Zahner was enlisted. Of the 2000 shimmering brass plaques, 201 were engraved with the name, the rank and the date that each officer gave their life for a common cause.  Each plaque is staggered and set in relief.  This both draws attention to the individual whose name is inscribed while allowing light from behind to illuminate each plaque.  The memorial also features an abstracted badge design in the center of the memorial.  The remaining plates are left blank.  These plates are removable should additional names need to listed on the memorial.

“Zahner has fabricated this wall with care, dignity and sophistication befitting the solemn nature of this memorial,” said Gary Davis of Zahner.  The memorial's presence was felt throughout Kansas City.  The KCPD escorted the delivery truck to the city limits when it begin the 1,600-mile journey to Los Angeles. “Several of us here got choked up when we found out Kansas City Police would be escorting it to city limits,” said Linda Wagener CEO of the Los Angeles Police Foundation. “In law enforcement, we really are a brotherhood.”

LAPD Memorial
LAPD Memorial
LAPD Memorial
LAPD Memorial

The wall is set in the public plaza which is adjacent to the new police headquarters.  This space, that both the police and community share, was formally dedicated on October 14, 2009.  Open 24 hours a day, the memorial allows visitors to show their respect and remember the officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Design Engineering the Los Angeles Memorial

To intelligently build the project with the small available budget required some efficient choices in the design process. Zahner began working with Gensler early on to come up with a series of solutions that did not compromise the integrity of the design or the quality of construction. The solution for this is Design Assist, a service which provides custom design solutions.

Design Assist is the process of translating the architects model to a production-ready scheme. The Design Assist process is often a collaborative re-design of the project, an essential process to ensure the constructibility of the project later down the line.

In the case of the LAPD Memorial, the architects had several web meetings with Zahner, where they were able to digitally rotate and discuss the model, tearing parts away, and streamlining the design to its core structure. The resulting design is a sustainable and flexible memorial that will stand the test of time.

Location of the memorial adjacent to the Los Angeles Police building, marked in red.
Location of the memorial adjacent to the Los Angeles Police building, marked in red.
Architect's diagram of the monument design.
Architect's diagram of the monument design.