CHINO - Today, staff, community leaders, and the family of a deceased Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Officer who died in the line of duty 20-years-ago today, gathered at the Chino institution for the groundbreaking of a memorial to the officer.
A fundraising effort involving staff and community groups has raised nearly $8,000 to place a memorial in the memory of Officer Leslie (Les) Martin Macarro, it was announced today. This new memorial will be placed next to the memorial for former CYA Correctional Counselor Ineasie Baker, who was murdered by a ward at the facility in 1996. Both memorials sit in a special garden at the front of the institution.
"The significance of Officer Macarro's untimely death resonates today because his tragic death is a reminder of the perils that face all correctional staff in their duties," said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Director of the Division of Juvenile Justice. "I am so very happy, Officer Macarro's son Mark, can be with us today to pay tribute to the memory of his father."
Mark Macarro was there to represent the family, as well as represent the Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians tribe, of which the deceased officer was an active participant.
On May 20, 1988, Officer Macarro was killed in the line of duty while transporting a ward to the Los Angeles County Hospital - Jail Ward.
During that transport, the ward jumped out of the van in the hospital parking lot in an escape attempt. When Officer Macarro attempted pursuit, he was struck by another vehicle. His partner Arthur (Smokey) Perez, alerted medical staff to Officer Macarro's life-threatening injuries, staying with Macarro until he was transported into the hospital.
At that point, Officer Perez, working with local law enforcement began a pursuit of the ward who had run off, eventually capturing him. Officer Macarro died several hours later from his injuries at Los Angeles County Hospital. He had worked for the Department for approximately 13 years and was 52-years-old at the time of his death.
"Officer Macarro was the first peace officer at Heman G. Stark to die in the line of duty.," said Heman G. Stark Superintendent Ramon Martinez. "His legacy marked a catalyst for change in the way we now preserve public safety. This dedication will honor the 20-year anniversary of the loss of ‘one of our own'."
The event also marked the contributions of Arthur (Smokey) Perez, who made a valiant effort to save Officer Macarro's life that day, 20-years-ago.
Wards in the facility also marked the anniversary of Officer Macarro's death, with curriculum at the institution specifically focused on the role of youth correctional officers and youth correctional counselors within the institution, as well as the damage that violent acts have on the community-at-large. This is part of the restorative justice mission of the Division of Juvenile Justice.
"We would like to continue to recognize Officer Leslie Martin Macarro for such dedication in sacrificing his life for the safety of others," said Superintendent Martinez. "The loss of such an outstanding officer deserves continued commemoration for years to come that will be represented by this monument. The dedication ceremony is an opportunity for Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility, as well as the community, to remember Officer Macarro."
Background on Officer Les Macarro
Les Macarro was a local, residing in the Inland Empire for most of his life. He was born on May 9, 1936, in San Bernardino, California. He was a descendent of the Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians from Pechanga Reservation. He lived in Colton, California, for 24 years. Macarro also served our country in the United States Army 1st Infantry Division as a military policeman stationed in South Korea. He began employment with Heman G. Stark in 1974. He worked while attending school to earn his AA degree. He completed his education in 1976. Officer Macarro continued to work diligently with the youth and was recognized for his caring and persistence in 1983 by receiving an outstanding performance award.
# # #