Reward offered after someone vandalized this memorial for a fallen trooper in New Jersey – help find them

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DENNIS TOWNSHIP, NJ- New Jersey police unions are asking the public for information after a memorial for a fallen trooper was vandalized on Wednesday.

The memorial is for Bertram Zimmerman, a trooper who died in the line of duty on February 5, 2004. Zimmerman had worked for the State Police for near three years before his untimely death. Officer Down Memorial Page explains the circumstances of Zimmerman’s passing:

“Trooper Zimmerman and the officers were part of a stakeout following a recent series of armed robberies at area convenience stores. Troopers staking out a store on Route 9 spotted the suspect fleeing the scene of a robbery and initiated a vehicle pursuit. Trooper Zimmerman was attempting to join the pursuit when his patrol car went out of control and struck a utility pole near the intersection of Route 9 and Route 83.”

The trooper was only 32 at the time of his death and left behind his wife, mother, and two sisters. To honor the fallen officer’s memory a memorial was set up in Dennis Township, Cape May County near State Highway 83.

Now, years after the memorial was built, it has been defaced. In a Facebook post outlining the crime New Jersey State Police report that the vandals used white chalk to write a “derogatory phrase” over the pavers:

On Wednesday, October 7, troopers responded to the memorial located on State Highway 83 when they observed the memorial was defaced. The suspect(s) used white caulk to write a derogatory phrase on the pavers and to deface the front of a granite monument in the center of the memorial.

State Police Seek Public's Assistance with Identifying Suspects who Vandalized Fallen Trooper’s MemorialThe New Jersey…

Posted by New Jersey State Police on Thursday, October 8, 2020

State Police are asking anyone with information pertaining to the crime to come forward. A $5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the vandals. To report a tip please call 609-861-5698.

Read the full post by the New Jersey State Police here:

“Police Seek Public’s Assistance with Identifying Suspects who Vandalized Fallen Trooper’s Memorial

The New Jersey State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying the suspect(s) who vandalized Trooper Bertram Zimmerman’s memorial in Dennis Township, Cape May County. 

Trooper Zimmerman died as a result of injuries sustained in an on-duty motor vehicle crash on February 5, 2004, while responding to a robbery call.

On Wednesday, October 7, troopers responded to the memorial located on State Highway 83 when they observed the memorial was defaced. The suspect(s) used white caulk to write a derogatory phrase on the pavers and to deface the front of a granite monument in the center of the memorial.

The State Police unions have offered a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s).

Anyone with information is asked to contact Woodbine Station at 609-861-5698. Anonymous tips are welcome.”

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Unfortunately officer memorials are vandalized often, read another example here:

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO.– The word “sacrifice” seems to have a diminished in meaning these days. Sport celebrities have claimed to have sacrificed everything by taking a knee during games. Not sure how multi-million dollar sponsorship contracts for “taking a knee” has any resemblance to sacrifice.

As a retired LEO, I have seen the tangible meaning of sacrifice.

Law enforcement officers across the United States are sacrificing everything, including their lives, to ensure the preservation of life and a peaceful society. We memorialize those men and women who willingly lay down their lives, by carving their names in stone.

The monuments created around our country are created for the family, loved ones and grateful citizens, to pay their respects and to be a constant reminder that freedom is never “free.”

On February 5, 2018, our family found themselves in a position we never hoped to find ourselves. My brother-in-law, El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Micah Lee Flick, was shot and killed in an attempt to arrest a car thief in Colorado Springs, CO.

As we learned to navigate the world of “line of duty death”, we were made aware that a local fallen peace officer memorial was to be unveiled on May 15, 2018, (National Peace Officer Memorial Day).  

 

A committee of volunteers, active law enforcement, retired law enforcement, and survivor families had spent a decade trying to raise the money to provide a regional police memorial to honor close to 40 peace officers who had laid down their lives.

On May 15th, 2018, the memorial was dedicated, and Micah’s name was the newest added to the wall of heroes. I will never forget the emotion that overcame our family when we saw his name engraved in the beautiful granite wall, which sat below the magnificent 8 foot bronze lion statue.

Memorial to fallen officers vandalized in Colorado Springs - 'The ultimate sign of disrespect'

Our family regularly frequents the public park where this memorial is located. At night, the memorial side walk is lit with a piercing thin blue line. Other than the National Peace Officer memorial, it is one of the few places we find comfort in knowing Micah’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Over the last two years, the ongoing false narrative of police racism and brutality has led to several vandalism incidents at the memorial. The Pikes Peak Regional Peace Officer Memorial Board of Directors and committee members took great care in designing the memorial.

In the design process, they factored in the possibility of vandalism and implemented some proactive measures to ensure certain types of vandalism could be mitigated with minimal financial repercussions. Up until a few weeks ago, their efforts had paid off.

Last week, on a beautiful Tuesday evening, I went down to the memorial. I walked down the side walk which led to the beautiful bronze lion at the center of the memorial site. I enjoy reading the engraved bricks inlaid on the side walk.

The names on the bricks are of the many individuals, businesses and organizations who had an active role in designing, constructing and funding the memorial site. The many names are a wonderful reminder that most of our society love our first responders.

Memorial to fallen officers vandalized in Colorado Springs - 'The ultimate sign of disrespect'

As I walked up to the massive granite stone, I made my way around to the backside; the side which has Micah’s named carved into it. As I made my way around, I was sickened to see five of the other hero’s names had been vandalized. Unlike previous incidents, this one didn’t involve paint.

This time, the damage was permanent.

I was horrified to see someone had taken a chisel to the names to cross them out. The calculated planning that went into this criminal act, was an attempt to erase the sacrifice of these heroes.

Memorial to fallen officers vandalized in Colorado Springs - 'The ultimate sign of disrespect'

At the onset of the line of duty death of a peace officer, the family, friends, and co-workers are immediately embraced by the “survivor” community. That community is larger than it should ever be, but is a welcome comfort while navigating the difficult waters surrounding loss. A bond is instantly created.

When I saw the five desecrated names on the memorial, wall I broke down in tears. I know some of the families of those heroes well. I wept at the thought of someone intentionally trying to erase the sacrifice of each officer.

I spent a good half hour staring at the wall, weeping. I was filled with anger, frustration and sadness. This targeted act of hate towards our heroes reminds me of the indifference of many towards the lives of our first responders and their families.

 

So where do we go from here?

We have to start by honoring the heroes on the wall. To repair the damage and implement more adequate preventative measures, the Pike Peak Regional Peace Officer Memorial will have to spend approximately $65,000.

As a result of COVID19, the memorial (much like many other non-profits) have been unable to carry out their normal fundraising events this year. On top of the repair fees, the memorial would like to raise an additional $10,000 to upgrade the lighting and security system to deter these acts in the future.

It’s time for the “silent” majority to speak out and speak up for our brave men and women in law enforcement. Please consider helping financially by donating to the peace officer memorial. https://www.pprpomfoundation.org/

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