Salt Lake police dedicate plaque to officer killed on bike in 2000
Christian Smith wasn't alive on July 17, 2000, the day that Salt Lake City police Officer Michael Dunman was killed while on patrol as a bicycle cop.
But the 10-year-old was instrumental in making sure the city remembers Dunman's service.
On Friday afternoon, Dunman's family and former colleagues gathered near 1500 S. State St., the site of the fatal crash, to dedicate a bronze plaque in his memory.
Dunman's widow, Sandi Dunman-Bromley, pulled a sheet of paper from the brick wall of Piper Down Pub to reveal the embossed image of Dunman below the words "Honoring Our Fallen." The crowd of about 50 applauded.
The pub occupies the building nearest the spot where Dunman died.
Christian was there, too. He had saved up his allowance for months and with some help from his family paid for the $2,000 plaque.
Christian, who had heard stories of Dunman from his many police officer family members, said at the ceremony Friday that he believed Dunman was a "good guy" who, like other officers, needed to be remembered.
"They risk their lives to save other people," he said.
On the morning of July 17, 2000, Dunman placed third in a golf tournament. His friend and co-worker, detective Dan Wendelboth, had joined him on the links, playing the game he loved.
Dunman talked about a trip to Disneyland he was planning for his family, Wendelboth recalled.
He dropped Dunman off at the station at 3 p.m. to begin his shift as a bicycle cop, a shift he never finished.
Instead, a speeding driver veered over the curb near 1500 S. State Street and hit Dunman in the back. He died on the scene.
Dunman-Bromley, who has since remarried, said after the ceremony that it was difficult to lose her husband.
"It's been hard, obviously," she said. "But I've done OK."
In the years since the accident, Dunman-Bromley and her three daughters now 18, 16 and 14 have created a tradition to remember their husband and father: Each July 17, they get frozen custard and go to the cemetery where they share stories about him.
Dunman-Bromley said she has since forgiven Yocundo Cruz-Silva, the man who allegedly hit and killed Dunman. Prosecutors charged Cruz-Silva with negligent homicide, but he bailed out of jail with $2,500 and disappeared.
Police believe he may have fled to his native Mexico.
Cruz-Silva remains wanted on several warrants.
According to Lt. Mike Ross who researches historical events for the police department it is the seventh plaque of its kind to be dedicated by the Salt Lake City Police Department.
The plaque program honors all Utah fallen officers dating back to the 1800s. Ross said there are 16 more officers who still need plaques, which are funded with private donations.
How to help
P Donors who would like to contribute to the Fallen Officer Memorial Plaque program can call Salt Lake City police Lt. Mike Ross at 801-799-3660 or email michael.ross@slcgov.