TULSA, Okla. — Sgt. Craig Johnson, killed during a traffic stop, is now honored at the Tulsa Police Officers’ Memorial. There is a fresh engraving of his last name on a bench.
Sgt. Johnson was gunned down June 29. Pat Briscoe of Briscoe’s Custom Rock Engraving knew immediately he would be called to honor him at the memorial. It took a couple months to arrange everything, but the work was finally finished Thursday.
“It’s terrible that we have to be here,” Briscoe said, but his hands got to work, crafted another memory that will last for years to come. “I've done memorials and stuff in my shop, different things, but actually on site, given the circumstances, it’s a lot different.”
Briscoe spent hours on each piece of rock at the memorial for 39 officers who served with their lives. The difference on the 40th engraving is he actually met the man whose name he carved.
“It’s an honor,” Briscoe said. “I didn't know him personally, but the times I met him, he seemed like a good man.”
The work first started with a measurement of the Johnson stencil. Then, it was taped against the rock bench. So, it would not move while the sandblaster hit it.
There are now 11 unmarked benches and podiums standing ready to honor the memories of other officers who protect citizens with their lives, if need be.
Sgt. Johnson’s bench carving took about two-and-a-half hours. Now that it is done, a plaque will replace the black band around the adjoining podium.
The Tulsa Police Officers’ Memorial Committee came together in 1996. June 11 of that year is when the last Tulsa Police officer was killed in the line of duty. Dick Hobson was shot while chasing down a robbery suspect. Before him, Officer Constantine Spanos was also shot, during an early morning traffic stop on April 22, 1993; and before him, Officer James Slay died in November of 1986 from a car accident.
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