Honor Bands: Retired Long Beach officers create thousands bands for Dallas

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Retired police officers make thousands of mourning bands for Dallas

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. -- Two retired local police officers started a non-profit organization, making black mourning bands for officers killed in the line of duty. They are sending a large shipment to Dallas on Friday.

The black bands symbolizes grief, loss and tribute to officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Julia Walling and Laura Tartaglione are both retired officers from the Long Beach Police Department.

A Dallas police officer covers his face as he stands with others outside the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas.
Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo

The two, plus fellow retired LBPD officer Dee Clarke, have been working tirelessly at a Los Alamitos workshop since news broke of the five officers killed in Dallas.

"We want to honor them, and we want to let them know how special they are even in death," Tartaglione said.

Unfortunately, the group has had an increase in orders because so many police officers have been killed recently.

In the midst of the chaos, people stopped to help others from being trampled, an eyewitness said.

"It's just crazy. It's scary for the officers. It's scary for their families, the loss of fathers, sons and uncles and aunts," Walling said.

As a way to give back to their police family, these retired officers took it upon themselves with their own time and money to personalize each mourning band.

"We're busy, and it's a sad busy, unfortunately. We're thrilled to give this product to people, because it is so unique, and it's such a tribute to that fallen officer," Tartaglione said.

Typically, they'll print the fallen officer's badge number as a tribute, but with five officers killed, they've gone with the word, "Dallas."

"We don't want to see the numbers grow, but we know the reality is every 53 hours, there's an officer killed in the line of duty," Walling said.

Tartaglione and Walling will send out 3,500 mourning bands to police stations in Dallas by Friday night.

"As soon as the TV went on and we started learning at the time it was one officer, I started texting Julia immediately and said, 'Is Laura in town? Do we have contact with her?' We started the ball rolling, and basically, 'I'll see you in the morning,'" Clarke said.

Walling and Tartaglione recently registered their organizations as a non-profit called Honor Bands. They are hoping donations will begin to come so their honorable work can continue.

"We're going to continue whether we get donations or not. We'll figure it out," Tartaglione said.

To learn more about Honor Bands, click here.