Officers of the Palm Springs Police Department start and end their day in the locker room.
Now this personal space has more meaning.
“We never want to forget the sacrifices that they’ve made in the line of duty, i mean they’ve made the ultimate sacrifice,” says Sgt. Mike Casavan.
The men’s and women’s locker rooms house permanent tributes to two of their own: Officer Jose “Gil” Vega and Officer Lesley Zerebny.
Casavan says it’s the perfect place to honor them, “We start our shift and we end our shift by seeing these lockers, essentially they didn’t have that opportunity when we go home at the end of the day we see it again and it’s another reminder, you know just to kind of keep them in mind and never forget.”
Officer Zerebny’s father, Officer David Kling says this means the world to him and his wife LuAnne, the first time they saw it was emotional.
“We both burst out crying because it’s such a perfect memorial for Lesley here in the locker room,” says Kling.
Each locker has their badge number emblazoned on the front and inside are items that were meaningful to each officer and to those who knew and loved them.
“You see it and it reminds you of Gil … this has a personal connection you see the golf balls you see the cowboys, all things that I knew he loved … it really brings a personal touch to the tribute,” says Casavan.
“A beautiful memorial of her life, there’s little bits and pieces of her in this locker,” says Kling.
But more meaningful than that her father hopes by walking by these honor lockers at the beginning of a shift officers will not take for granted what they do day in and day out.
Kling says this would make his daughter proud, “It’s a dangerous job and it will provide maybe a little extra measure of safety that they walk by and think, one of our officers didn’t come home but i’m coming home tonight.”