(Urbandale, Iowa) Urbandale residents and local law enforcement and fire department officials filled the Urbandale Police Department parking, and adjacent library lot this (Thursday) morning, to mark the one year anniversary of the slaying of Officer Justin Martin, who was shot and killed in the line of duty, in his squad car near 70th Street and Aurora Avenue. Shortly after Martin was shot, Des Moines Police Sergeant Anthony Beminio, was shot and killed in his squad car. Bemino had been on his way to help Martin at the time.
Chief Ross McCarty told the crowd the department has not forgotten Martin's loss, and they're still moving through the continuum of acceptance. McCarty thanked the mayor and city leaders, and expressed deepest gratitude for the community for the past year, saying through that support they have strived to honor the fallen officer. McCarty says it's the department's wish to remember Justin. He cited five projects:
Officials have renamed the department's north driveway in Martin's honor. McCarty says it will serve as a daily reminder for officers to stay safe.
The Urbandale Library dedicated a reading room to Martin. The chief says it's a way to honor Martin's commitment to higher education instilled in him by his parents.
The recreational fields west of the Urbandale Police Department have been named "The Martin Playing Field." McCarty says that's a way to honor Justin's athletic accomplishments.
Urbandale held fun this month in Martin's honor. City leaders are hoping it will become an annual event.
There's also an eagle "sculpture of vigilance" in front of the Urbandale Police Department. McCarty says it will have a plaque honoring Martin as well as other officers who will fill the thin blue line as they leave their service.
"These tributes to our fallen officer, are the result of the efforts of a committee from the police department, city leaders, the Urbandale community and the Martin family. Their mission was to ensure that a respectful tribute to the life of Officer Justin Martin remains a significant part of our history. We have accomplished that mission. Generations will remember the gratitude we have for Justin Martin and his family. May these efforts bring some peace to us," Said Chief McCarty.
Urbandale Officer Brady Farrington grew up with Justin Martin in Rockwell City, Iowa. Farrington says by chance, he and Martin went went through the police academy at the same time, and both joined the Urbandale Police Department at the same time, and were friends. He tells WHO Radio News the community outpouring of support has been impressive and heartwarming. Farrington says he believes officers have been well-received by the public, whether it's during a traffic stop or another sort of call requiring police assistance. He says he believes Martin's death has a lot to do with that, because of his dedication and sacrifice.
Earlier this month Simpson College in Indianola honored both officers. Martin and Beminio both graduated from Simpson.
Forty-six year old Scott Green pleaded guilty to both murders, and was sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms.