The Kitsap County Law Enforcement Memorial in Bremerton had six names etched on the memorial’s stone face for years. Earlier this month, a seventh name was carved into the stone.
The memory of slain Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu weighed heavy on the minds of attendees Tuesday afternoon at the annual Kitsap County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at the Miller-Woodlawn Memorial Park in Bremerton. There, a granite stone carrying the names of area law Enforcement Agents killed in the line of duty was re-dedicated to include Radulescu’s name.
Radulescu was shot and killed Feb. 28 by Joshua Blake, 28, during a traffic stop on State Route 16 in South Kitsap. Radulescu was born in Romania in 1967 and moved to Kitsap County after serving in the Gulf War. He was a 16-year veteran of the Washington State Patrol.
The private event was held Tuesday to recognize National Peace Officers Memorial Day. Dozens of state, county and local law enforcement agents attended Tuesday’s ceremony.
Washington State Patrol Captain Bob Johnson, Radulescu’s District 8 Commander in Bremerton, stood not far from the memorial stone with his head held high. The nearly three months since Radulescu was killed have been difficult for both him and the troopers of District 8, he said.
The last two state troopers shot on-duty were from District 8, with Trooper Scott Johnson shot in February 2010 in Long Beach in Pacific County, he said. After these shootings, it’s impossible to take any traffic stop or other trooper business lightly.
“Officer safety is always on the forefront of my mind,” Johnson said.
Gina Miller, Radulescu’s longtime girlfriend, was also at the event. She said there have been good and bad days since the Radulescu was killed.
“Somedays it’s all I can do to get out of bed,” she said. “I keep waiting for him to come through the door.”
Tears often flow, she said, especially when talking to Radulescu’s family members. Miller said Radulescu’s family, including his 22-year-old son, Erick, who is in the army serving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, are hanging in there by taking life one day at a time.
Miller said support shown by the Washington State Patrol and the community have helped enormously in the healing process.
“I was amazed by the love and support there was for Tony,” she said. “I’m glad Tony was the way he was, and he touched so many people.”
Many attendees to the memorial wore T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase 557 WSP “Patroling Heaven”, signifying Radulescu’s patrol car number. Miller said it’s important to have little remembrances such as the T-shirts and the memorial wall to provide people vehicles to remember the slain trooper. She hopes a memorial at the WSP District 8 can be built, and has plans to hold a candlelight vigil in February in Port Orchard to recognize the one-year anniversary of Radulescu’s death.
Al Townsend, Port Orchard’s Police Chief, said Radulescu was a top-grade individual with a great personality. He said his death served as a bitter reminder that working in law enforcement is a dangerous job. Officers around Port Orchard City Hall knew and respected Radulescu. Many officers “tightened up” after his death, he said, reminding themselves that as a police officer, it’s a fine line between being approachable to citizens but aware of confrontation that could happen at any time.
“Something like this is a reminder,” he said. “We have to be diligent.”