Memorial Donated in Honor of Officer
Slain in Line of Duty
Contra Costa Times 1/31/04
by Kristi Belcamino
PITTSBURG -- Brought together by a simple stone memorial donated by police officers just starting their careers, dozens of officers paid tearful tribute Friday to a colleague shot to death on the job last year. Inspector Raymond J. Giacomelli died April 15 inside an Abbot Avenue house while investigating a slaying. His killer was shot to death two days later by police in Modesto. The large stone memorial, engraved with Giacomelli's name, was purchased by the recently graduated 151st class at the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement Training Center.
The memorial has been embedded near a flower bed in front of the police academy that Giacomelli attended and where Friday's dedication ceremony took place. It has become tradition for graduating academy classes to do something for the community, Sheriff's Capt. Rob Henderson said during the tribute that included the wail of a bagpipe player.
"It speaks well of this class that they came up with a selection that, in my opinion, will be very hard to beat," Henderson said.
After learning about Giacomelli in a class about officers shot in line of duty, the recruits were so moved that they decided to buy the memorial to remember the 46 year-old police officer, Officer Yvonne Moilanen, president of the 151st class, told the gymnasium filled with police officers and Giacomelli's family and friends.
The class also is donating $3,000 to a Kops for Kids summer program for youngsters who have lost loved ones.
"There isn't a dry eye in the house," the slain officer's brother, Leo Giacomelli, said after the ceremony. The tribute was a chance to celebrate his younger brother's life, but it also had a solemn message, Giacomelli said.
"This is just a great honor," he said. "Every time someone walks into the academy, they will see his name and realize, 'This is real. This isn't playing a game. You could die.'
"That's what everyone here has to remember."