Long-awaited Fallen Officer Monument at SJPD serves as 'a reminder of the sacrifices' made

Lauren Martinez Image
Thursday, October 5, 2023
Long-awaited Fallen Officer Monument unveiled at SJPD
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After years in the making, the San Jose Police Department unveiled its Fallen Officer Monument outside headquarters Wednesday night.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- After years in the making, the San Jose Police Department unveiled its Fallen Officer Monument outside headquarters Wednesday night.

Thirteen officers have died in the line of duty in the San Jose Police Department.

Chief Brian Shab described the permanent memorial as a symbol of gratitude and a token of remembrance.

"It's a promise that we will never forget their service and sacrifice ensuring that future generations will know their valor," Shab said.

Tom Katherman's son Michael was the 13th San Jose officer who died in uniform.

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Police say a San Jose man faces attempted murder charges after he attacked his pregnant wife and then shot and badly wounded a police officer.

In 2016 he was killed when his motorcycle collided with a minivan.

Tom Katherman joined the San Jose Art Commission advisory board for this memorial. The artist Gordon Huether is the one who created the monument.

"His artistry, his vision is amazing," Katherman said.

The monument is made of dichroic glass, on one side you see blue and on the other, it appears gold.

"It's this concept that we will not forget what the sacrifices were made by those before us. And, the sacrifices that these men and women make every day when they put on the badge and put on the uniform," Katherman said.

The memorial is now a standing reminder to honor all of the 13 fallen officers and their families.

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Mayor Matt Mahan said these officers met the greatest challenge in life, to put others before themselves.

"This is the great human struggle, to rise above self-interest for something greater," he said. "Today with this monument we honor men who rose above. Who overcame their fears, who mastered their self-interest."

The Mayor went on to say the memorial is a "reminder of what we at our best can be."

The Department and the city have worked to get this installation completed since 2008.

Chief Anthony Mata said he feels proud and emotional at the same time.

"Again it's a reminder of the sacrifices that these fallen officers have made, and just a reminder of the dangers and challenges that are out there. Just recently, earlier this year we were reminded of that," Mata said. "Officers weren't killed but they were shot so just a reminder of sacrifices people made and just reflect back on what we need to do in order to keep each other safe and keep the community safe."