In 1991 Gus Spanos came into my same squad where we worked overnight in deep north Tulsa. We were a close group and Gus fit in just fine. When he was killed, it hit the squad hard, me no less than any of the other squad mates. We were all rather young and did not know what we could do that would be important enough.
In 1996 when Dick Hobson was killed I was the President of the FOP. Tragic events like this make up the foundation of what I believed the FOP to be built around. Helping officers and surviving family members struggle through and continue into the next day.
When we were still dealing with the funeral and the headlines of the event, citizens were reaching out to the FOP and the police department to help in some way. We had no truly appropriate entity to accept this outpouring of support and I could see that.
The police department is a government operation and is structured to have no "soul" for lack of a better term. The FOP is established to be more or less the "soul" of the police department, but we were structured to care for our own, ready to move on without help from outside our ranks.
In the fall of 1996 a small group of folks from the FOP Auxiliary, and within the ranks of the FOP presented the idea of the Tulsa Police Officer's Memorial to the members of the FOP. It was just an idea then and they needed a bigger group of people to push that idea forward. The Memorial sounded like the important thing I was looking for. I signed on then and have been there ever since.