Before California Highway Patrol officer Earl Scott was gunned down on Highway 99 near Salida two years ago, the 36-year-old was known among his neighbors and friends for always having his garage door open and welcoming new friends.
They will honor him Thursday by dedicating a park to him in his Hughson neighborhood. What was formerly Rhapsody Park is becoming Earl Scott Park, and an 8-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall sign bears his name.
The public is invited to the 6:30 p.m. dedication.
"This is kind of exciting because I know Earl will be well-represented," said Modesto police officer Robert Hart, a close friend who helped the drive to rename the park and build the sign. "He loved that subdivision, so I'm excited about it. It's exciting that this is going to be forever for Earl. The association there and people put a lot of work into it so we're excited it's going to be done."
Scott had lived for about a year and a half in what was then the new Rhapsody subdivision when he was shot during a traffic stop Feb. 17, 2006.
A Stanislaus County criminal grand jury indicted Columbus Allen Jr. II on suspicion of murder. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Hart and a group of Scott's neighbors got together to work on the park, Hart said.
Local businesses along with the Modesto Police Officers Association and the Peace Officers' Memorial Committee donated money toward the $14,000 sign. Scott had worked as a reserve officer for the Modesto Police Department and as a correctional officer at the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown before being hired by the CHP in 2001.
Two Stanislaus County sheriff's helicopters and a CHP helicopter will begin the ceremony with a flyover. Participants will have the chance to write notes to fallen officers, which will be attached to helium-filled balloons and released at the end of the ceremony, Hart said.
The park is at 7212 Rhapsody Lane.
Bee staff writer Inga Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2324.