Virginia Beach’s fallen officers remembered on boats, helicopters

Ten Virginia Beach police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1953. Now the names of each of them will be displayed on special police vehicles in memory of their sacrifice.

Members of the Virginia Beach police department gathered to honor their fallen officers. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)
Members of the Virginia Beach Police Department gathered Friday to honor their fallen officers. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)

“Their contributions will never be forgotten,” Capt. Michael Ronan, special operations commanding officer, said Friday at a dedication ceremony.

Seven police boats, two helicopters and one mobile command center will each have a name of one of the fallen officers on it.

Councilman Jim Wood, who introduced the idea of such a memorial earlier this year in a resolution to the City Council, said the boats, helicopters and command center will now be referred to by the last name of their associated fallen officer in almost all types of communication. For example, Boat 40, named after Officer George Starr, will be called “The Starr.”

This was the boat named in honor of fallen officer Rodney Pocceschi. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)
Boat 111 is now named in honor of fallen Officer Rodney Pocceschi. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)

Here is the list of those fallen officers and their vehicles:

  • Detective Michael Phillips (Boat 507), died August 7, 2008
  • Officer Bradley Harper (mobile command center), died August 3, 2005
  • Officer Rodney Pocceschi (Boat 111), died June 23, 2003
  • Officer George Starr (Boat 40), died August 31, 1991
  • Officer Daniel Maloney (Boat 146), died December 27, 1981
  • Officer William Black (Helicopter 206), died July 11, 1979
  • Detective Jimmy Mobley (Helicopter 407), died July 11, 1979
  • Officer Roger McClung (Boat 187), died December 19, 1968
  • Detective Robert Monette (Boat 186), died December 19, 1968
  • Special Officer Hezekiah Little Jr. (Boat 355), died August 2, 1953

“There’s no higher honor than to keep their memories alive,” Mayor Will Sessoms said at the ceremony, which was held at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.

Family and friends of the fallen officers attended the event. The boats and mobile command center were on display, and the two helicopters flew overhead.

Ronan thanked the family members for being at the ceremony and praised the officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“We hope we never have to do this again,” he said.

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