DES MOINES, Iowa — As the calendar page moves on, the pain does not. “We are still healing and this day is a very difficult day,” said Urbandale Sergeant Chad Underwood. Two years ago on November 2, Urbandale officer Justin Martin and Des Moines Sergeant Tony Beminio were shot and killed in their vehicles during an ambush attack. “What hit us the hardest was that was our friend, that’s someone in our family,” said Des Moines Sergeant Paul Parizek.
Officers say outside of that family, their community is what has helped them heal. “You come to a situation like this where it really takes your knees out and somebody has to pick you up and that’s what the city did,” said Parizek.
For Urbandale it was their first officer killed in the line of duty and their community provided a shoulder to lean on. “I don’t know that we could have made it without the support from the community,” said Underwood.
The intersections where both officers were killed are just two miles a part. Decorations were found today at Merle Hay Road and Sheridan Avenue for Beminio. They also flanked 70th Street and Aurora Avenue for Martin. “It’s a whole mix of emotions that still come up on this day and probably will for the rest of our careers,” said Underwood.
The community will soon see a change to Urbandale’s police cars. They are adding a thin blue line and the number 1140 to the back of the vehicles, which is more than just Martin’s badge number. Underwood said, “That number represents in my mind perseverance everyday. When we look at it we will remember the sacrifice he made and remember to be vigilant and persevere and to push through difficult days like today.”
A thin blue line that has been strengthened by the communities it protects. “You find a lot of comfort in the gestures people do day in and day out. Something as simple as telling us thank you,” said Parizek.