Hoff Police Memorial: Public Ceremony, Private Moments Of Healing

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RENO, NV - Amid bagpipes, speeches, a bugler playing taps, a crowd gathered Friday morning in Reno's Idlewild Park at the James Hoff Police Memorial.

Like all memorials, this one was born of tragedy.

Thirty three year old Reno Police Officer Jimmy Hoff was working undercover not far from this spot back in 1979. A series of errors and communication failures left him helpless in the hands of a crew of young drug dealers.

His murder brought a number of changes to the Reno Police Department and inspired the creation of the memorial that now bears his name.

This is the 26th year officers from all over the state have gathered here for this ceremony.

Each year there's an expressed hope that no more names will be added, but, of course, that's never happened. This year three were added, though the reasons were further in the past.

Washoe Sheriff's Lt. Glenn Barnes died in 1991 during physical training, Carson City officer Vernon Carvin suffered a fatal heart attack during an arrest in 1949 and Elko County Deputy Denny Lawrence died last year of injuries he received in a shootout years earlier.

Their families were present as were others from previous years.

Dominique Shelton makes the trip each year from Las Vegas to attend and spend a few moments at the plaque bearing the name of a close friend, a Las Vegas Metro sergeant, Hendry Prendes, killed responding to a domestic violence call in 2006.

"He was like a big brother to me. He was just a big part of my life growing up. I say a prayer. I thank him for his service, tell him I miss him,"

Shelton, now married to a North Las Vegas officer says coming to these ceremonies is important.

"It's been such a big part of my healing process."