Tag Archives: mural

Burbank Police Unveil New Mural to Honor Fallen Officers (Plus Video)

The City of Burbank Police unveiled a new mural at its station last month commemorating police who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The wall-size mural depicts officers and deputy marshals from various eras with the vehicles they used and dressed in clothing and uniforms from their time period.  The mural’s subjects: Marshal Luther Colson, Deputy City Marshal Robert L. Normand, Officer Joseph R. Wilson, Officer Richard E. Kunkle, and Officer Matthew Pavelka, stand alongside each other with two of the officers sitting on their motorcycles.  Each officer stands before a backdrop of the Burbank police station from their time period. 

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The ages of the deceased range from middle-aged to early twenties.  The five officers and deputy marshals are the only Burbank police force members to be killed in the line of duty from the 1920s to the early 2000s.  

The mural was the brainchild of Sergeant Mark Stohl an 18 year veteran of the force.  The tall, unassuming, soft-spoken man felt the station needed a memorial to the fallen. 

“I wanted it to be something that would be able to integrate all of the officers based on the fact its ninety years [the age of the Burbank police], and the differences between some of them, into one cohesive piece,” Stohl said.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Its location is in front of the station’s back entrance doors. The smiling subjects of the colorful mural greet police officers as they arrive to start their shifts. 

Stohl said, “We have a lot of younger officers here who may not know the history.  That’s the reason why we chose this place to put it, so every day when you come into work you have to pass by it.” 

“It’s a good way to remind every one of the sacrifices these people have made,” Stohl said.  “To hope that no one else has to be put up on the wall.” 

At the top of the mural, painted by artist Jeanine Hattas Wilson, are the name and date of death for each officer and marshal appear on an image of what would have been their badges.  On either side of the painting, lions appear to be standing guard over the police officers. 

Present in the mural is a cheerful reddish hair twenty-something officer, who looks to be the most confident, is Matthew Pavelka who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in 2003. He had been on the force a year. 

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Stohl’s inspiration for the mural came from a small memorial to the fallen officers in the administrative section of the station.

“In my opinion, it was lacking.  It just wasn’t the type of memorial I thought we should have for the sacrifice these people have made,” Stohl said quietly.

 The Burbank Police Officer’s Association and the non-profit Burbank Police Foundation both paid for the mural.  Lieutenant Claudio Losacco who sits on the boards of both groups was the facilitator for obtaining the funding. 

“He came to me and asked how can we make this happen,” Losacco said.  “He went to both the Association and the Foundation and pitched it [the mural] and went to the company who actually did the work, got a quote from them, got some exemplars and both the boards decided, yes we will spend the money to make it happen.”

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Stohl said thoughtfully.  “That is what it’s here for, to honor their memory.  To let people remember this is a dangerous job”

Burbank Police have also produced a time-lapse video of the mural that can be seen here.


Editor’s Note the excerpt was changed as Sgt. Mark Stohl is currently with the Burbank Police Dept. 

Local Schools Install Murals at Burbank Town Center

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

On Saturday, March 3, students from Providencia Elementary, Brett Hart Elementary, Jordan Middle School, and Burbank High School installed interactive murals on the third level of the Burbank Town Center.

Art classes from schools in the district have worked together to add color to the mall as it undergoes refurbishments. The 6 ft. x 8 ft. murals vary in themes, showcasing the artistic styles of the students. One mural depicts a political message about equality, while another depicts a flying saucer hovering over a cornfield.

“They were really self-led and they were in charge of what they wanted to illustrate,“ said Burbank High School art structure and art history teacher, Rebecca Platner, who oversaw the district-wide project. “It’s special for them to have their art in a public place.”

Shoppers are encouraged to take part in the interactive murals and post to social media, tagging #BUSDpaintsBTC.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Students and teachers alike invested a lot of their time in creating the murals, totaling about a month between the design and painting process.

“My students submitted design concepts and then we voted on them and we refined them until we got to the one we wanted to work on for the wall,” said Burbank High School visual and performing arts teacher, Jonelle Pickett.

Pickett’s advanced animation class collaborated on a 3D mural depicting a picnic with soda, fries, and a hamburger. CJ Jobelle, a junior, is one of the students who worked on the assignment.

“The overall painting took about three weeks, roughly around that. People were taking turns to paint it,” said Jobelle.

Visitors can attribute the murals to the individual classes who created them, as the school names and grade levels are provided next to each illustration.


“It’s really exciting that under Rebecca’s leadership we were able to get several schools and artists representing their talents to get visual arts into the community,” said Peggy Flynn, arts and career technical education coordinator for BUSD.

“It helps people see the power that art can have in an open space like this.”

Eventually, the wall will come down once space is rented out. Until then, visitors of the Burbank Town Center can admire the creative work of the next generation.

A Wall of Heroes Inspires Burbank Fire Fighters and Police Officers

“Symbolism is the practice of representing things by symbols, or the practice of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character. A symbol is an object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself, often of a more abstract nature.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In 2010 artist Jessica Rodrigue painted a large mural in the gymnasium located within the Police and Fire Department Headquarters Building in downtown Burbank.  The mural features faded badges from both departments, a couple high rise buildings, an eagle, emergency vehicles, a background of American flags, capped with the title “Honoring Our Fallen Heroes” above a roll call of officers and fire fighters who lost their lives while serving the community.

If you ask a police officer or fire fighter what they see in the mural, each will give you a different interpretation of the symbolism contained within the painting.  BurbankNBeyond had a rare opportunity to talk with a small group of police officers and firefighters, learning how they view, interpret, and consider the symbolism contained in the mural.

“I see the badges” mentions Fire Department Captain Jim Baldridge.  “The badges fade out on top, giving the feeling something is missing” he continues.  “What’s missing is our fellow firefighters.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The fire fighter’s badge carries number 91, that of Firefighter/Paramedic Dan Yonan, lost in 1999.

In the background we hear the constant chatter of radio and dispatch traffic, an audible reminder the job of protecting citizens and visitors to Burbank is not prepared to take a break for interviews, and the interview could be over in one second if the need arises, allowing either or both fire fighters and police officers to move quickly towards danger or disaster.

”The badges, police and fire, are next to each other” notes Sergeant Darin Ryburn, Burbank Police Department.  “In Burbank the brotherhood (police and fire) is very strong.  We support each other, firefighters support the police, police support the firefighters.  For me, coming down and working out in the gym reminds me of that brotherhood we have in Burbank.”

Captain Baldridge believes the high rises are symbolic of 9/11.  Firefighter Richard Morris added “you see the tall buildings, and you think of all the firefighters and police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, and those who are on duty every day.  I see the mural, and there are a lot of thought-provoking images.”

Sgt Ryburn jumps in, explaining while it is good to honor those on the wall, it is also important to “not be added to the wall” ourselves.  “The gym is a place to maintain our physical fitness, focusing to keep on top of our game, as we do not want to be added to the wall.”

The mural is viewed by the Matthew Pavelka’s family and other Burbank Police Officers during a recent visit to the Burbank Police Station. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The small group of officers and firefighters gathered, looking at the wall, having a bit of quiet small talk with each other, reminiscing and talking through memories of those fallen.  Memories of police officers supporting a firefighter’s funeral, fire fighters lending professional and emotional support to officers during the investigation of a fallen police officer (Officer Matthew Pavelka, Badge 84, killed in the line of duty on 15 November 2003).

Sgt Ryburn breaks the moment with an image from a day long ago, when Firefighter/Paramedic Dan Yonan was laid to rest.  “I will never forget that day.  I was a motor officer when he passed away.  It was raining the day we had his funeral, and we saw flags all over Forest Lawn.  It was such an honor to escort the casket.  He was one of our own, it was an honor to escort Dan to his final resting place. In Burbank we know each other, we’ve gotten used to seeing each other, being with each other.”

It is hard to keep police officers and fire fighters in a somber mood for long.  Within a few minutes they are back to joking and teasing.  Captain Baldridge offers “like all families we have our differences, and can be just as tenacious as brothers.  However, the gym is a great place for us to get together and build relationships.”

The funeral procession of Dan Yonan’s funeral.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A few more stories about practical jokes, rivalries, competition, and the differences between generations of cops and fire fighters.  The old guys are in the gym providing guidance to the young, and when needed putting context to the symbolism presented by Ms. Rodrigue’s mural.

A younger police officer, Officer Ashley Sudbrook steps in, and is “volunteered” by the old guys to share a few thoughts on her impressions of the mural.   “This department does not take anything lightly, and nothing is forgotten.”  She continues to explain the gym is a great place for both the police and fire fighters to “hang out” and get to know each other. “This is a great place to pass along war stories” among our colleagues.

“We know when we come to work, we might not go home that night” reminds Officer Sudbrook.  “However,” she says, while looking up at the mural, “we know our efforts will not be forgotten.”

While the group continued standing in front of the mural, conversation had veered off to discussions on the relationship between police and fire fighters, with the only reference to the wall being an occasional comment on how appropriate it is to have the badges together on the wall, as they should be, in a city like Burbank.

Those honored on the wall:

  • Officer Matthew Pavelka – 2003
  • Fire Medic Dan Yonan – 1999
  • Officer Richard Kunkle – 1961
  • Engineer John Satisik – 1961
  • Officer Joseph Wilson – 1961
  • Deputy Marshal Robert Normand – 1920
  • Marshal Luther Colson – 1914

The mural as shown painted on the weight room wall. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)