The Youngstown Police Department has lost a dozen officers since its inception in the 19th century.
None of those fallen officers has been forgotten, and now their photographs are a permanent part of the department.
On the far back wall of the second-floor roll-call room, where officers gather daily to receive pertinent information before patrolling city streets, are the pictures of 12 men illuminated constantly by soft light. Each photo is accompanied by a short description of the events leading to his demise.
The photos begin with Officer William Freed, who was killed in 1891.
Police Chief Rod Foley said the memorial serves a dual purpose.
“We wanted to make sure that these officers are not forgotten, and it serves as a reminder to be as safe as you can out there [on the streets] because there are people out there not willing to go to jail,” he said.
The idea to create the memorial wall was born in a conversation between Detective Sgt. Cindy Dellick and Sgt. Zaida Miranda two years ago. Dellick said Miranda came up with the idea after seeing it done at other departments.
“She [Miranda] said to me that when you go to other departments, they have pictures of all their fallen officers. I said, ‘That is a good idea. Let’s get it going,’” Dellick said.
The officers embarked on a two-year fundraising and information-gathering campaign. Time was divided between searching Vindicator archives for photographs and information on the fallen officers and selling T-shirts and key chains to cover the costs.
Dellick said although the memorial is in the roll-call room, which is not seen by the general public, it still is important to the community at large. She said the last five officers on the wall, the most recent to be killed in the line of duty, still have family in the area who come to many police functions and memorials.
“We really worked hard at this,” she said. “We wanted people to know that we didn’t forget about them. This has been all about them.”
The last five officers listed on the wall are Frank Cichon, who was killed in 1963; Ralph DeSalle, who was killed in 1984; Paul Durkin, who was killed in 1987; Millard Williams, who was killed in 1992; and Michael Hartzell, killed in 2003.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Dellick added. “Nobody wants to be on that wall, and we don’t want to add to it.”