The California Peace Officers Memorial, located on the mall near the state Capitol building in Sacramento, honors peace officers from agencies across the state who have given their lives in the line of duty.
The memorial traces its history to 1976 when Sen. Robert Presley, D-Riverside, carried legislation, signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, on behalf of a group of peace officers who wanted to honor their fallen comrades. Beginning in 1977, names were written annually in a leather-bound book that was encased in wood and glass and attached to the wall outside the governor's office in the east wing of the Capitol building.
Then in 1985, under Gov. George Deukmejian, Presley sponsored legislation establishing a nine-member California Peace Officers Commission and a permanent monument. The result was a 13-foot bronze sculpture depicting a county sheriff of the 1880s, a state trooper of the 1930s and a city patrolman of the 1980s. The sculpture was created by Vic Riesau, a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department who retired as division chief in 1977 and embarked on a new career as an artist. More than $200,000 was raised in private donations for the piece, largely from the law enforcement community.
Deukmejian unveiled the monument May 13, 1988, and names have been added to bronze plaques surrounding a brick planter each year to coincide with National Police Week.