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Granddaughter of fallen officer Robert J. Davey, Jr. Presley Oliver,5, gets a closer view of the sculpture of her grandfather with the help of her grandmother, Sue Davey, at the Alameda Police Officers Memorial Dedication Ceremony in Alameda, Calif., on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Presley's mother, Kelli Destasio, the daughter of Davey, center, also looks on. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

ALAMEDA -- Robert James Davey Jr. would be humbled to learn that people still remembered him three decades after he was killed in the line of duty as an Alameda police officer, his wife said.

"He would tell us that he was just doing his job," Sue Davey said Tuesday as police and city officials gathered to dedicate a memorial garden to her husband and fellow Officer Deward Burton Gresham.

The 33-year-old Davey was killed on March 3, 1983, when a suspect opened fire with an automatic weapon while the officer was serving a search warrant on Central Avenue.

Gresham, also 33, was making a traffic stop on his motorcycle at Union Street and Buena Vista Avenue on July 10, 1942, when he was injured during a collision. He died the next day.

"Their loss cannot be replaced," interim Alameda police Chief Paul Rolleri said. "But their sacrifice will always be remembered."

The memorial garden outside the police department on Oak Street features busts of Davey and Gresham on plinths, a plaque and a stone topped with sculptures of two grieving angels, as well as a flagpole and stone benches.

The memorial is across the street from the Alameda Free Library, which helps make it an inviting place where people can pause and reflect, Rolleri said.

Bay Area landscaper Linda Gates designed the garden layout, which features a short walking path and environmentally friendly plants.


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Sculptor Lawrence Noble used photographs of the two fallen Alameda officers to make the busts. He also created the California Firefighters' Memorial in Sacramento and the San Bernardino County Peace Officers' Memorial.

The effort to build the Alameda memorial began in May last year after Rolleri noticed the bust that Noble made of fallen Berkeley police Sgt. Jimmie Rutledge outside the Berkeley Police Department.

"I thought, 'Why can't we do something like that here?'" Rolleri said.

The project, which was supported by Mayor Marie Gilmore and City Councilwoman Lena Tam, was mostly funded through private donations.

The memorial will help remind officers of the dangers they face on the street, especially since they will pass it each time they begin a patrol, Gilmore said.

"Hopefully, it will be another reminder to stay safe," she said.

When Gresham died, he left behind a wife, a 7-year-old son and an infant son. He was a police officer for three years. Davey had been with the department 10 years. Along with his wife, Sue, he was survived by four children. Streets in Alameda are named after both men.

"The most important thing for any fallen officer's family is that their loved one is not forgotten," Sue Davey said.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.