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Tribute to a fallen guardian

Jackson Bell

The death of a rookie Burbank Police officer has inspired a local

lawmaker to honor Matthew Pavelka in a way that will forever remind

the community of his sacrifice.


Before a small gathering Thursday inside Burbank Police and Fire

headquarters, Assemblyman Dario Frommer, flanked by two portraits of

Pavelka, announced plans to dedicate a three-mile stretch of the

Golden State (5) Freeway in memory of the slain officer.


“That night, the Pavelka family lost a beloved son, Burbank Police

lost a brave officer and the state lost a true hero,” Frommer said.

Frommer (D-Burbank) and Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-La Crescenta)

will introduce an Assembly resolution next month to rename the

southbound and northbound portions of the freeway between West

Burbank Boulevard and Hollywood Way as “Burbank Police Officer

Matthew Pavelka Memorial Freeway.”

Initial Caltrans estimates for the freeway signs bearing his name


are between $1,500 and $2,000, according to Frommer’s office.

Burbank Police Chief Thomas Hoefel was joined by police officials,

City Council members, Pavelka’s parents and other friends and family


“On behalf of the Burbank City Council, and the men and women of

the police department, thank you for the warm gesture and terrific

tribute,” Hoefel told Frommer.

The stretch of freeway selected by police and family members is


adjacent to the Ramada Inn parking lot on North San Fernando

Boulevard, where Pavelka was shot and killed Nov. 15.

Pavelka’s father, Michael, also thanked Frommer for the gesture.

“Matthew joined a long list of local police officers in the

Southern California area who gave their lives while doing their duty

and serving their community,” said Michael Pavelka, a veteran Los

Angeles Police detective.

In 2000, a portion of the Ventura (134) Freeway was named for

Charles Lazzaretto, a Glendale Police officer who was killed in 1997

while searching for an attempted murder suspect in a Chatsworth