COMMUNITY COMMENTARY:

I am responding to the letter from David O’Shea in the July 4 Mailbag regarding the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Recruit Class #372 colors run through Glendale on July 1 (“Color run was unnecessary”).

As president of the Glendale Police Officers Assn. representing the rank-and-file of our agency, I was greatly dismayed by O’Shea’s letter.

O’Shea seems to be troubled by the use of Glendale police personnel who participated in this event and the cost to the city to provide this service as well as these resources.

Perhaps a few facts are in order.

The colors run is performed by each graduating Los Angeles County sheriff’s academy class to honor fallen officers throughout the Southern California region.

Unfortunately, there is never a lack of honorees.

During this event, recruit deputies as well as participating agencies and local law enforcement run a 5 1/2 -mile course to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

On Tuesday the city of Glendale and its Police Department were honored to remember Officer Charles Lazzaretto, who was killed in the line of duty 11 years ago.

The on-duty contingent of officers consisted primarily of members of the Police Department’s traffic bureau, which provided a safety escort for the runners.

These officers specialize in traffic enforcement and provide escort services for various events throughout the year. The police budget provides for their services for these activities.

The largest group of officers and non-sworn members of the department numbering approximately 40 donated their time to this event on an off-duty basis to honor Lazzaretto.

At the conclusion of the run, which lasted approximately one hour, the runners and support staff were given T-shirts commemorating the event and fed breakfast.

The money used for this was provided by donations from the community, Glendale Police Officers Assn. and the participants themselves. No city funds were used.

It should also have been noted by O’Shea that “protection for everyone from crime and not just the sheriff’s academy’s runners” was being provided by patrol bureau personnel, which had a full contingent of uniformed officers patrolling the city streets just as they have since 1906.

It’s unfortunate that O’Shea feels that this event did not warrant participation by the Glendale Police Department. It is fortunate that his views are I believe in the minority.

As a member of the Police Department for more than 30 years, I believe the majority of citizens truly appreciate and value our service to the community as well as the sacrifice made by Lazzaretto.

This was evident on the day of the run when numerous citizens stopped to wave, salute, and cheer as the runners passed on their 5 1/2 -mile journey.

I also have first-hand experience in the generosity and caring that is demonstrated by the citizens of Glendale when they provided hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money for the Police Memorial in front of the police station at 131 N. Isabel St. honoring Lazzaretto and the three other Glendale officers who have given their life in the performance of their duties.

The men and women of the Glendale Police Department will continue to provide outstanding law enforcement services to its citizens.

Throughout the coming years they will continue to be mindful of the cost associated with safety personnel.

I believe in return that the memory of those officers killed in the line of duty can still be honored by members of the Police Department, fellow law enforcement members, the survivors of our fallen officers as well as the citizens of Glendale.

It is my sincere hope that the sheriff’s recruit class never has to run through the streets of Glendale because of another fallen Glendale police officer and that O’Shea will not have to worry about “squandering” police resources.


 MARIO MARCHMAN is president of the Glendale Police Officer’s Assn., a sergeant in the Glendale Police Department and a Glendale resident.

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