Los Angeles Police Department Memorial to Fallen Officers

The new LAPD Memorial to Fallen Officers stands as a testament to the strength and courage of the Los Angeles Police Department.  The memorial is dedicated to the police officers and families who have sacrificed for the community of Los Angeles. 

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

David Herjeczki Principal, at Gensler


The project began after David Herjeczki and Christopher Keough of Gensler won a design competition for the new memorial. Working with a multi-layered concept, they developed meaning in both its design as well as its context. 

“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.”

Los Angeles Police Department Memorial at the LAPD Headquarters.
Los Angeles Police Department Memorial at the LAPD Headquarters.
The Memorial prior to installation at the LAPD Headquarters.
The Memorial prior to installation at the LAPD Headquarters.
The LAPD Memorial dedication in Los Angeles, California.
The LAPD Memorial dedication in Los Angeles, California.

Designing and Fabricating the Brass Memorial

To fabricate the 32' long by 12'- 3” tall brass memorial, Kansas City-based fabricators at Zahner were enlisted to develop the team's concept into reality. 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.

The memorial's presence was felt throughout Kansas City. After the wall was manufactured and prepared for shipment, the Kansas City Police Department escorted the delivery truck to the city limits to begin its 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.”

KCPD Officers escort the Memorial to Kansas City limits.
KCPD Officers escort the Memorial to Kansas City limits.
The Memorial arrives in Los Angeles.
The Memorial arrives in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Police Officer sees the LAPD Memorial for the first time during its arrival.
Los Angeles Police Officer sees the LAPD Memorial for the first time during its arrival.

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.

Brass plates adorned during the dedication in Los Angeles.
Brass plates adorned during the dedication in Los Angeles.

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.