The rubbings are the names of Barney Francis Phelan and Floyd Glenn Wise — who were both killed in separate car accidents more than 70 years ago.
While attending National Police Week in Washington D.C., May 12-18, retired Tracy officer, Jim Winston, heard the names of the chiefs announced during a candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Phelan was killed in 1936 while driving back from the California Peace Officers Association convention in Santa Monica, and Wise died in 1940 driving back from a meeting in the Bay Area.
“It sends a little chill down your back (to hear the names),” Winston said. “I had been to the memorial several times, but this was my second time during police week.”
Winston personally obtained the rubbings of the names to put them in the department’s memorial at 1000 Civic Center Drive. He attended the ceremony as a member of the Fresno-based Code 3 Ministries.
The names were unknown to the Tracy Police Department until they were found by Fred Kelley, a Tracy police crime scene supervisor. He was researching the history of the department last year for its website.
“I was reading city council minutes in 1939 and 1940, and they were talking about replacing the chiefs,” he said. “I was surprised. I haven’t heard of anyone dying, even car accidents. Prior to that, the only two Tracy officers killed were deputy marshals in 1915. We didn’t know about anybody else.”
Now aware of the two men’s deaths, Kelley sought Winston’s assistance to get their names put on the memorial in D.C.
Winston was familiar with the memorial application process having gotten the names of Tracy deputy marshals Benjamin Ingram and Frank Blondin on the memorial several years ago.
Ingram and Blondin were fatally shot on June 20, 1915 while searching for a person wanted by the Angels Camp Police Department.
The latest names were approved by the memorial committee and added to the wall in early May.
“It was a privilege to do that,” Winston said. “These guys had fallen through the cracks and now they got the recognition that they deserved. It was at the very least that can be done for somebody that dies doing this job.”
For information on the history of Tracy Police Department, visit www.ci.tracy.ca.us and click on the police department home page.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.