On Sunday, May 7, and Monday, May 8, officers from the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) attended the California Peace Officers Memorial at the State Capitol in Sacramento. This year, HBPD Officer Nicholas J. Vella was honored, and his name was inscribed on the memorial for his sacrifice while protecting and serving others.
On February 19, 2022, Officer Nicholas Vella tragically lost his life in the line of duty. He was in the Huntington Beach police helicopter (HB-1) and responding to a call for service when it crashed into the waters off Newport Beach. Officer Vella is survived by his wife Kristi, daughter Dylan, father John, mother Marcella, and brother John Arthur.
The memorial in which Officer Vella’s name was inscribed is described by the California State Capitol Museum as follows:
“The centerpiece of the monument is a thirteen-foot bronze relief sculpture depicting three law enforcement officers: an 1880s county sheriff, a 1930s state traffic officer, and a 1980s city patrolman. Together, these figures represent the evolution of law enforcement in California. On the base of the monument, designers inscribed these simple yet poignant words: ‘In the Line of Duty.’ Along the back of the monument, and on the brick planter box in front of the monument, are individual plaques inscribed with the names of officers who lost their lives while serving the public.”