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Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Remembered

First responders and police officers stand in silence, to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week. Currently, thousands of members of law enforcement bureaus from across the country, including the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, participate in events each May to honor their fellow comrades.

On May 15, National Peace Officers Memorial Day, dozens gathered in front of the Salt River Police Department to remember and honor fallen law enforcement officers. Twenty-four Arizona tribal police officers have paid the ultimate sacrifice, including Salt River Police Department Off. Jair Cabrera.

SRPD Chief Karl Auerbach addressed the first responders, police officers and onlookers at the event.
Everyone gathered in front of the main station, where the SRPD Honor Guard conducted a flag ceremony and the SRPMIC Employee Choir sang the national anthem.

“Every morning when I look out my third-floor window, I’m reminded of the memorial of Officer Jair Cabrera,” said SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr., to the first responders standing directly in front of him. “Day after day, you go out there. Many of you kiss your children and your wives farewell in the mornings and in the evenings …. As a Community, I want to tell each and every one of the first responders and our police force how grateful we are for your sacrifice daily and for the leadership that we have in SRPD and responding units. I want to thank each and every one of you from the heart of our Community. God bless each and every one of you.”

SRPD Chief Karl Auerbach provided some history on National Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, as well as the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., where the names of 108 tribal officers from Indian Country are inscribed on the wall of honor. Of those, 24 are the names of Arizona tribal officers.

(L-R) Sgt. Elvin Velez and Sgt. Jamie Lomay stand at attention as the names of the 24 Arizona Law Enforcement officers from Indian Country are read in remembrance, during Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15. A rose ceremony was led by SRPD records manager Theresa Harney and Off. Aaron Moser. A rose was placed in remembrance of Off. Jair Cabrera.
The roll call of the 24 fallen officers from Arizona Indian Country was read by SRPMIC Community Manager Bryan Meyers, Assistant Community Manager Carla Banuelos, Law Enforcement Representative Ernestine Deer, Salt River Fire Department Chief Daryl Dash and SRPD Commander James Sutphen.

A rose ceremony was led by SRPD Records Manager Theresa Harney and Off. Aaron Moser. Special remembrance was given to the late Jair Cabrera, the SRPD officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 24, 2014.

An honor song was sung by SRPMIC Tribal Council member Ricardo Leonard, who also thanked the first responders and police officers for their sacrifices for the betterment of the SRPMIC.

“Let us pray there will never be any more,” said Auerbach.

Fallen Law Enforcement
Officers From Arizona
Indian Country

John Colvig, San Carlos PD (EOW, 1882)
Albert Sterling, San Carlos PD (EOW, 1882)
George Lockhart, Navajo PD (EOW, 1887)
Dennis Titla Sr., San Carlos PD (EOW, 1960)
Burton Begay, Navajo PD (EOW, 1975)
Loren Whitehat, Navajo PD (EOW, 1979)
Milton Antone, Ak-Chin PD (EOW, 1983)
Andy Begay, Navajo PD (EOW, 1987)
Roy Stanley, Navajo PD (EOW, 1987)
Dean James, Hopi PD (EOW, 1988)
Kevin Lewis, Gila River PD (EOW, 1993)
Ronald Kelly, Ak-Chin PD (EOW, 1995)
Hoskie Gene, Navajo PD (EOW, 1996)
Samuel Redhouse, Navajo PD (EOW, 1997)
Michael Delgado, Tohono O’odham PD (EOW, 1998)
Esther Todacheene, Navajo PD (EOW, 1998)
Winsonfred Filfred, Navajo PD (EOW, 1999)
Tenny Gatewood Jr., White Mountain Apache PD (EOW, 1999)
Aaron Peru, San Carlos PD (EOW, 2011)
Darrell Curley, Navajo PD (EOW, 2011)
Ernest Montoya, Navajo PD (EOW, 2014)
Jair Cabrera, Salt River PD (EOW, 2014)
Alex Yazzie, Navajo PD (EOW, 2015)
LeAnder Frank, Navajo PD (EOW, 2016)

Off. Jair Cabrera

Off. Cabrera was shot and killed while making a traffic stop near the intersection of Chaparral Road and Pima Road, on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, on May 24, 2014.
Off. Cabrera had served for seven years with the Salt River Police Department.