Memorial for Fallen Officer Sergeant "Dee" Dowell
Sergeant "Dee" Dowell
A memorial to Sergeant Dee Dowell was dedicated on August 20, 2003. That same day, new street signs containing VPD’s badge were placed at the intersections of Dowell Drive and Ralston Street, and Dowell and Walker Street.
Former Police Chief Mike Tracy’s dedication remarks:
"Today we take a few minutes to remember Ventura Police Sergeant Dee Dowell. Twenty-five years ago, on August 7, 1978, Sergeant Dowell was killed in the line of duty.
"The day before, Sunday, August 6, four men tried to rob a businessman making a night deposit at the Bank of America on Victoria Avenue. The robbery was interrupted and the four suspects fled; two were apprehended immediately but Robert K. Lee, 22, and Keith Kuhne, 20, escaped.
"The next day a team of seven Ventura police officers served arrest and search warrants on the two outstanding suspects. Sergeant Dowell, Detective Don Bales, Detective Carl Handy, and Officer Gary McCaskill approached the front door of the suspects’ house at 154 N. Olive while Sergeant Art Farrar, Detective John Leach, and Officer Don Arth set up a perimeter around the residence. Officers entered the home and were detaining Kuhne in the living room when Lee fired a shotgun from a darkened hallway, fatally wounding Sergeant Dowell. Lee then ran through the house, crashed through a rear window, and was shot and killed by pursuing officers.
"At the time of his death, Sergeant Dowell, 32, was a nine-year veteran of the Department. We remember him as a dedicated police officer, devoted husband to Mickie, and loving father to his two young children.
"Dee's family asked that we keep this recognition today low key and private. They were not able to be with us today, but Mickie did express her thanks to all VPD employees for remembering Dee, and offered, as always, her support for the job you do every day.
"Only five of our current employees were members of VPD on that day 25 years ago. Everyone who worked with Dee will always remember him and the sacrifice he made. But it's equally important that every member of this Department, current and future, knows about and remembers Sgt. Dee Dowell.
"A cabinet to serve as a permanent memorial has been constructed and prominently placed near the employee break room. Sgt. Dowell's photograph, his sergeant's badge, and a plague describing the circumstances of his last call will be on display in that cabinet for employees and visitors to see as they pass by in the course of doing their jobs.
"Dee was my first sergeant. He was a modest person, who I assure you would be embarrassed by the attention we're giving him today. And he would be the first to say that this memorial is not about Dee Dowell, or even about the specific circumstances that unfolded that night on North Olive Street. For Dee, this memorial would be about the men and women who today do the job he did 25 years ago--and about maintaining every advantage of safety thru tactics and training. Dee knew--and would want us all to remember--that every day police officers put themselves in harms way, and routinely find themselves in situations that are dynamic, unpredictable, and dangerous. Yet, police officers do this job--like he did--out of a sincere desire to serve their community.
"When we look back on August 7, 1978 and what happened at 154 No. Olive, it takes on huge significance for our Department and the seven officers who were there. We lost an officer, and a family was changed forever. But we must never forget that at the time, it was just another assignment, fairly routine, in the normal course of duty. We have been there thousands of times since that day, stopping suspects and wanted persons, making routine traffic stops, and handling calls for service.
"The memorial we unveil today is a tribute to the sacrifice of our friend and fellow officer--and a reminder for all to be vigilant, safe, and prepared."