Denver Police Museum unveils commemorative badge and hosts series of special events
December 19, 2019, officially marks the 160th anniversary of the founding of the Denver Police Department. In recognition of this momentous milestone, the Denver Police Museum organized a series of special events and activities throughout the year to commemorate this historical occasion.
On February 1, 2019, the Museum unveiled a commemorative badge designed by Denver Police Sgt. Christopher Hoag honoring the 160th anniversary of the Department. Chief Paul Pazen and the Museum presented the first 160th commemorative badge to the family of fallen Denver Police Officer Celena Hollis at a special ceremony held in his office at Denver Police Headquarters. Chief Pazen is permitting officers the opportunity to wear the badge throughout 2019 and 2020 to commemorate the founding of the Department.
Commemorative badges were also presented in celebration of Black History Month to honor the Department’s first two African American Division Chiefs, retired Division Chief Casey Simpson and retired Division Chief Armedia Gordon. The Museum also hosted several events celebrating the Departments’ 160th anniversary, including a special tribute for Women’s History Month to honor the late Detective Gail Riddell in March.
During National Police Week, the Museum honored Captain Robert Nicoletti for his scientific expertise, passion, leadership, and vision that resulted in the City of Denver and the Denver Police Department having a fully integrated Forensic laboratory, thus allowing for greater justice for victims and those accused of crime. The Museum also organized the Blue Thunder 100 Motorcycle Run to honor Colorado’s Fallen Officers, provided a special prayer for officers to Denver area churches, and hosted Memorial Sign Ceremonies honoring fallen Officers Charles Wanless, Forrest Sawyer, and Clarence Alston. A special thank you to the Denver Police Retiree Association for their financial support of these signs and the hard work of Bill Finch and Jeffrey Burke who did extensive research on both the circumstances of the officers’ deaths and finding surviving family members of the fallen officers.
Remembering Our Fallen Heroes
Denver Police Museum holds dedication ceremonies for fallen officers
On September 10, 2019, the Denver Police Museum honored two fallen officers with a memorial sign marking where they died in the line of duty. Officers Clarence E. Fraker and John O’Donnell were killed in 1934 when their police cruiser crashed into a car as they were responding to a scene at 25th and Marion in Denver, Colorado.
The Denver Police Museum honored Officer Alson McCasland who died in a police motorcycle crash in April 1935. He was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery, but there was no marker bearing his name. Thanks to the generous support of Mile High Memorials and the Jeremy Bitner Foundation, the Museum was able to place a headstone at the grave of fallen Denver Police Officer Alson E. McCasland on September 7, 2019.
The Denver Police Department has lost 72 officers in its 160 years of operation. The Museum relies on donations and contributions from officer salaries to cover the cost of headstones for unmarked graves and memorial signs to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.