Law enforcement officers, elected officials, family, friends and neighbors gathered Thursday evening at a Hughson park to pay tribute to California Highway Patrol officer Earl Scott and 12 other officers who died in the line of duty in Stanislaus County.
The former Rhapsody Park became Earl Scott Park with a dedication ceremony at the park that bears an 8-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall sign with his name.
Two Stanislaus County sheriff's helicopters and a CHP helicopter flew over the park before one of the aircraft left the formation to represent a fallen officer.
CHP Capt. Lenley Duncan said the ceremony was emotional for Scott's Highway Patrol colleagues, "especially when you see one of (the helicopters) pull away, and it was the CHP helicopter."
Scott was gunned down on Highway 99 near Salida two years ago during a traffic stop. The 36-year-old was known for welcoming friends to his Hughson home, also known as "Earl's Place."
About 200 people attended the ceremony, including officials from the CHP, Modesto police, the Sheriff's Department, Ceres police, Turlock police and the Stanislaus County district attorney's office.
Duncan, who heads the CHP Modesto office, said the display of support at the ceremony is reflective of Scott's friendly demeanor and dedication to the community. The ceremony was part of Peace Officer Memorial Week, held to remember the sacrifices made to protect the public.
"It's just such an important event to do; to remember for the families," said Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden.
Modesto police officer Robert Hart was a close friend of Scott and helped the drive to rename the park and build the sign. He said Scott dedicated a lot to his family, friends and the community.
"Now, we are able to be here and dedicate this park to Earl," Hart said.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 578-2394.