Burbank Police Honor Fallen Officer Matthew Pavelka With Wreath Placement on 19th Anniversary Of His Tragic Death

Photo by Ashley Erikson

On Tuesday, November 15, 2022, the Burbank Police Officer’s Association held their traditional wreath-laying ceremony in honor of BPD Fallen Officer Matthew Pavelka and Deputy City Marshall Luther Colson.

November 15th marks the 19-year anniversary of Officer Matthew Pavelka’s End of Watch as a Burbank Police Officer.  Pavelka had only been appointed as an officer for 10 months when he was lost in the line of duty by gunfire at the Burbank Ramada Inn.

Two wreaths were laid in honor of Pavelka and Colson, with Burbank officers, department staff, and association members present.  The red, white, and blue floral arrangements dawned a white and gold sash that read “For Our Fallen Hero” and were placed in front of the bronze statue at the Police and Fire Headquarters building at Orange Grove and 3rd st.

In 2003 Officer Pavelka and his partner Veteran Officer Gregory Campbell, stopped a vehicle without license plates at the Burbank Ramada Inn, containing two male suspects. When asked to leave the vehicle, the suspects opened fire on the two officers. While Officer Campbell recovered from his wounds, Officer Pavelka succumbed to the gunshot wounds in the hospital. The second wreath laid was in honor of the 108th anniversary of Deputy City Marshall Luther Colson’s End of Watch after he was gunned down on November 16th, 1914.

Following the ceremony, off-duty Burbank Police Officers ran as a united team from the station to the Ramada Inn where Pavelka was gunned down 19 years ago. The group of about 30 officers began running along the street with patrol vehicles and motorcycle officers guiding and protecting them along the way.  

The route started at North 3rd street where they then made their way up onto Glenoaks Blvd before making a left onto Winona Ave and ending at the Ramada Inn. The officers took a break in front of the Ramada Inn and held a moment of silence for their fallen officer, before making the run back to the police station.

To see a video reel of the wreath placement and run, click here.