Festivities clouded by death of SLO Police Detective Luca Benedetti

Staff Report

National Police Week (May 9 – 15) saw Americans pause to say a collective “thank you” to the men and women who wear or carry the badge.

During the week, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office thanked its deputies and custody deputies for the work they do, and those in the Sheriff’s Office reflected upon and refreshed their commitment to protect and serve the community, and to honor those peace officers who have laid down their lives in the service of others.

Somber ceremonies were hosted at agencies across the nation where names were read, sometimes from agencies far away, and sometimes from times long ago, like Santa Barbara County jailer George Downing, who died in the line of duty in an on-duty vehicle accident in 1925.

Sadly, the beginning of the week saw several law enforcement officers added to the long list of those who made the supreme sacrifice, including one that resonated with a number of Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies.

Photo contributed San Luis Obispo Police Detective Luca Benedetti was killed May 10 during a shootout that occurred while SLOPD officers were serving a search warrant.

The tragic May 10 shooting that took the life of San Luis Obispo Police Detective Luca Benedetti was an especially hard blow for the Sheriff’s Office. Benedetti’s partner, Detective Steve Orozco, who was also wounded in the shootout, is related to a Santa Barbara County custody deputy.

Benedetti graduated from the Allan Hancock College Law Enforcement Academy in a class that included 10 Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies.

During their six months of intensive training in the academy, officers and deputies form friendships and bonds that last a lifetime.

When such colleagues are taken from their ranks so violently, prematurely and senselessly, they live on in the hearts of their classmates for the rest of their lives.

“This week we and the people we protect and serve pause to remember the brave men and women of law enforcement who, throughout our nation’s history, have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom, justice and the American way of life,” said Sheriff Bill Brown. “May we always remember and honor them for their nobility, bravery and devotion to duty, and may we never forget that, as Americans, we are forever in their debt.”

Detective Benedetti is survived by his wife and two young children. A Gofundme page in honor of Benedetti quickly surpassed its original goal and is now more than $500,000, which will benefit his family. To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/f/detective-luca-benedetti-family-relief-fund.