On December 7, 1853, Los Angeles County Constable Jack Wheelan, when attempting to serve an arrest warrant in Sonoratown (just north of the Plaza), was stabbed in the chest and killed. The assailant fled and was never apprehended. Constable Wheelan became the first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in Los Angeles County.
Including Constable Wheelan, 537 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers died as they performed their duties in or for Los Angeles County. On the grounds of the Sheriff’s Training Center at 11515 Colima Road in Whittier, the name of each officer is inscribed upon a memorial to honor and remember their sacrifice. The Los Angeles Almanac sets aside a special page to record the names of these officers.