Receive alerts from your local agencies
...or text your ZIP CODE to 888777 for mobile alerts

Full Notification

Costa Mesa Police Department
Friday March 10th, 2017 :: 05:08 p.m. PST
Community

CMPD HOLDS 30TH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL EVENT FOR FALLEN OFFICERS KETCHUM AND LIBOLT

CMPD HOLDS 30TH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL EVENT FOR
FALLEN OFFICERS KETCHUM AND LIBOLT

COSTA MESA, Calif. – The Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) held a memorial event today for two fallen police officers on the 30th anniversary of their end of watch, with CMPD retirees and the fallen officers’ family in attendance. The flight instructor civilian Jeffrey A. Pollard, who was on a ride-along with the two officers that day was also remembered.

The event included remarks by Police Chief Rob Sharpnack and CMPD Chaplain Dave Brooks, who retired as a captain and was a close friend to both officers. The invocation by Chaplain Brooks was followed by a helicopter flying over the crowd. The event wrapped up inside the Department, where a wall memorial was unveiled in honor of the two fallen officers.

The event was hosted in partnership with the Costa Mesa Police Association, the Costa Mesa Police Management Association, and the City of Costa Mesa.

Officers Ketchum and Libolt:
James D. Ketchum, 39, was a 15-year veteran of CMPD. He was assigned to the helicopter unit, had approximately 3,500 flight hours, and planned to retire in that capacity. Ketchum was survived by his wife Meg, and two daughters, Hilary, then-13 years old, and Penny, then-12 years old.

John W. Libolt, 39, was also a 15-year veteran of CMPD. He was assigned to the helicopter unit, had approximately 3,000 flight hours, and was known for his quick wit and humor. Libolt was survived by his fiancée Lani Wilson, and son David, then-19 years old, and daughter Katie, then-15 years old.

Ketchum and Libolt are the only CMPD officers ever lost in the line of duty.

Officers’ End of Watch:
On March 10, 1987, Officers Ketchum and Libolt, and ride-along civilian, were flying their helicopter in pursuit of a suspect in a stolen vehicle. The CMPD helicopter was assisting the Santa Ana Police Department and was in the process of turning the pursuit over to the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) helicopter as the vehicle entered the City of Newport Beach.

At approximately 10:20 p.m., the CMPD helicopter and the NBPD helicopter collided in the area of MacArthur Boulevard and Bonita Canyon Drive in Irvine. The CMPD helicopter immediately caught fire and crashed beside Bonita Canyon Drive, approximately a quarter mile east of MacArthur Boulevard. All three occupants in the CMPD helicopter lost their lives. The NBPD helicopter crashed approximately a quarter mile further east. Both NBPD officers were injured and transported to a nearby hospital in Santa Ana to be treated.

###

Attached: Picture of Ketchum's grandson looking at the memorial wall.

Address/Location
Costa Mesa Police Department
99 Fair Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 714-754-5252

Navigate & Discover