Black and white police cars and CHP motorcycles lined the parking lot of the West Los Angeles California Highway Patrol Headquarters on Bristol Parkway Friday morning.
Breaking up the stark, regimented configuration of official vehicles were women wearing bright yellow roses pinned to their chests, and men wearing blue and white roses. Blue and gold represent the colors of the California Highway Patrol and friends, family members and fellow officers pinned the bouquets to their clothes and uniforms to honor their fallen comrade, Philip Dennis Ortiz.
It was Ortiz's widow, Jessica Ortiz, who organized the flowers for those in attendance. On June 9, 2010, Officer Ortiz pulled over a motorist on the 405 in Culver City to give the driver a ticket, when the driver of an Infiniti sedan trying to bypass traffic on the congested freeway drove onto the shoulder and plowed into Ortiz and his motorcycle.
Ortiz survived another 13 days at UCLA Medical Center before succumbing to his injuries on June 22, 2010.
Two years later to the day, Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) was on hand to dedicate a section of the 405 Freeway in Ortiz's honor, thanks to legislation she managed to pass on the Ortiz's family's behalf.
Following the Honor Guard salute and the singing of the national anthem, West Los Angeles Area Captian Matt Guthrie, California Highway Patrol Commissoner Joe Farrow and Assemblymember Mitchell all spoke briefly, but poignantly about Ortiz, as the traffic on the freeway whizzed by behind their heads.
After some heartfelt words by Ortiz's widow, Jessica, the Ortiz family unveiled the sign that will now adorn the highway in Ortiz's honor. Attendees were then asked to sign the back of the sign with their memories.
Following the ceremony, guests and officers were treated to a taco lunch, where everyone spoke about what a loyal, dedicated officer Ortiz was. Several members of the Culver City Police and Fire Department were in attendance and Culver City Police Captain Dave Tankenson told Patch he knew Ortiz well.
"I saw him all the time," Tankenson said. "He worked here and I'd always see him eating at the S&W Diner. He was a great guy."