Los Alamos Police Department officers at Monday’s Memorial Ceremony for Fallen Law Enforcement Officers included, from left, Sgt. Chris Ross, Cmdr. Daniel Roberts, Cmdr. Preston Ballew, Deputy Chief Oliver Morris, Chief Dino Sgambellone and Cpl. David Randleman, at the podium. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Members of the late Lt. William D. Norris Sr.’s family are joined by community members and Los Alamos County staff at the LAPD Memorial Ceremony Monday morning. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone, right, speaks at Monday’s Memorial Ceremony for Law Enforcement Officers who die in the line of duty. Also pictured is Cpl. David Randleman who emceed the event. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
A large crowd attended Monday morning’s Los Alamos Police Department Memorial Ceremony for Law Enforcement Officers who die in the line of duty, including the family of LAPD Lt. William D. Norris, Sr. who passed away in 2020.
LAPD Chief Dino Sgambellone noted that in 2021, a total of 617 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty including 439 from COVID-19 and 73 as a result of felonious acts. This included three officers from New Mexico:
Undersheriff Jeffrey Montoya from Colfax County died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. Corporal Thomas Frazier of the Artesia Police Department was killed in an automobile crash on US Highway 285 near milepost 77, north of Artesia. He was involved in an active investigation when his vehicle collided with the back of a tractor-trailer that was turning off the roadway. New Mexico State Police Patrolman Darian Jarrott was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop of a known offender on I-10 near milepost 101 in Luna County. The driver of the vehicle was the subject of an ongoing narcotics investigation and was en route to Las Cruces to participate in a drug deal. Patrolman Jarrott was assisting members of the Department of Homeland Security when he stopped the vehicle. The man opened fire on Patrolman Jarrott, fatally wounding him.
“The 73 Officers feloniously killed in 2021 represented an increase of 59 percent as compared to the 46 officers who were killed as a result of criminal acts in 2020. Sixty-one of the 73 officers were killed with firearms;. 24 of these officers were killed in unprovoked attacks and another 8 were ambushed, highlighting a disturbing trend that has continued into 2022,” Chief Sgambellone said. ” As of this morning, 105 officers have been killed in the line of duty so far this year.”
He also mentioned citizens of Los Alamos who became police officers in other jurisdiction who became police officers in other jurisdictions and were killed in the line of duty, including Anthony Holly who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Glendale, Ariz. in 2007 and Carl Richard Richard Talafous who was killed in a helicopter crash in Hortense, Georgia in 1993. Both men are honored on a plaque outside the Justice Center.
On another plaque Sgambellone noted are the names of Los Alamos police officers who retired and have passed away.
“This year, we would like to honor and remember Lieutenant William Norris whose name will be added to the memorial following his death on June 22, 2020,” he said.
Chief Sgambellone read from Lt. Norris’s obituary below:
“In a long career in law enforcement and civil service, William D. Norris, Sr., was known to always do what was right, champion the underdog, and for asking: “How about those Cowboys?” a reference to his favorite football team.
Bill died suddenly at his Santa Fe home Monday, June 22, 2020. He had spent the previous day, Father’s Day, enjoying his favorite food, laughing and celebrating his family. He was always a man with a smile and a joke. He was 85.
Bill was the fourth of six children born to Adna Chaffee “Steve” Norris and Lydia Margarete Edgerton Norris July 1, 1934, in Lincoln, Nebraska. His family relocated to New Mexico when he was a teenager. He graduated from Pojoaque High School.
He joined the United States Marine Corps Aug. 5, 1953, attended boot camp at Camp Pendleton, and was stationed in Japan. He received an honorable discharge Aug. 8, 1956. He was always mindful of the lessons he learned: semper fidelis.
Upon his discharge, Bill returned to northern New Mexico. On an outing with his brother Jim, he met his bride at the popular Adobe Club in Pojoaque. Irma Marquez was out with friends that night. He often said, with a twinkle in his eye and a giant grin, that they danced, she laid her head on his chest and the rest was history. Bill and Irma were married Jan. 10, 1959.
During the early years of their 61-year marriage, Bill worked for the State of New Mexico Highway Department on a land survey crew stationed in Socorro. When the commute became too much for the young Santa Fe family, Bill began his law enforcement career with the Santa Fe Police Department (SFPD). After two years at SFPD, he transferred to the Los Alamos Police Department (LAPD) where he held many hats: patrol officer, undercover/narcotics agent, sergeant and lieutenant. After 24 years at LAPD, Bill returned to the Santa Fe Police Department where he retired in 1984.
Always a man of adventure, Bill started a career at the United States Post Office where he could engage in his favorite past time: visiting with people.
In 1996, he went on to be known as “Bailiff Billy” or the “Donut Dude” at a new role as a Santa Fe County Magistrate Court bailiff. In all his various careers Bill touched countless lives, always with a smile, a kind word, and focused on making a positive impact on his community.”
As part of the ceremony officers and members of the Norris family placed carnations on the memorial as a mark of respect. Cpl. David Randleman, who emceed the ceremony, explained that a white carnation is a symbol of the purity in which the officer and that a red carnation symbolizes the love of their country and their loved ones in which they served. Randleman also read a poem called “The Last Roll Call”. Randleman then called roll for Undersheriff Montoya, Corporal Frazier, Patrolman Jarrott and Lieutenant Norris.
Los Alamos Police Department officers, from left, Detention Cpl. Pete Garcia, Sgt. Ben Irving, Det. Joseph Robinson and Cpl. Daniel Randleman raise the U.S. flag Monday morning outside the Los Alamos Justice Center. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Family members bring Irma Norris to see the plaque bearing her late husband William D. Norris, Sr.’s name outside the Los Alamos Justice Center. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com