Law enforcement from across California and other states gathered at Cal Poly’s Performing Arts Center on the morning of May 20 to honor the death of Detective Luca Benedetti of the San Luis Obispo Police Department.
Benedetti, a Cal Poly alumnus, was shot and killed while serving a search warrant near South Higuera Street on May 10. After about nine years with the San Luis Obispo Police, Benedetti is survived by his two children and his wife, who is also a Cal Poly alumna.
The memorial service began at 10 a.m. and consisted of eulogies to remember Benedetti. After the memorial service concluded, a motorcade of first responders proceeded from the Performing Arts Center to leave Cal Poly’s campus and continue into the city.
A live guitarist played “Everything” by Michael Bublé — the song Benedetti and his wife danced to at their wedding. The service consisted of three eulogies by Benedetti’s colleagues and one by his best friend and cousin.
“The loss of a police officer affects us all,” San Luis Obispo Police Chief Rick Scott said during his eulogy. “We have all been victimized by this senseless act of violence.”
Scott also said Benedetti’s name will be inscribed on a memorial for fallen police officers in Washington D.C.
After his eulogy concluded, Scott presented Benedetti’s wife with her husband’s badge. This is customary to do for the family of a fallen police officer.
Video by Sofia Silvia
For philosophy senior Allie Matz, the death of Benedetti broke her heart, she said as she fought back tears.
Matz said Benedetti’s death hit close to home for her as her boyfriend is a police officer with the Sunnyvale Police Department. She said his safety while on the job is something that is always in the back of her mind.
Although Benedetti’s death was shocking to Matz, she said the memorial service was meaningful to her.
“It’s really beautiful to see so much support and for officers to know that there is such a big community for them,” Matz said.
San Francisco Police Officer Eric Chiang said he attended the funeral to pay respect to Benedetti, his family and the San Luis Obispo Police Department. Although Chiang did not know Benedetti, he said it is the “family of law enforcement” that brought him there to show his support.
Chiang said that hearing the eulogies delivered at the service was very impactful and gave him insight as to who Benedetti was.
“I think it’s good for other people to see that there’s a human being and a tragic loss for the family and community,” Chiang said. “This is what’s needed while we pay tribute.”
As Chiang said, Benedetti’s death sent ripples through law enforcement communities, drawing in many attendees who didn’t know Benedetti personally but wanted to show solidarity for the officer killed.
Fairfield Police Captain Brad Collins attended the memorial in support of Fairfield Police Chief Deanna Cantrell, a former San Luis Obispo police chief who worked with Benedetti.
“I think it’s seeing all the impacts that a person has on the lives of so many different people, not just at work, not just as a police officer but as a person,” Collins said. “Even though it’s not local to us, it still impacts us as if it were.”
Catherine Allen contributed reporting to this article.