PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Honor lockers dedicated to fallen officers Gil Vega and Lesley Zerebny now grace the locker rooms of the Palm Springs Police Department.
Even when the locker rooms are empty, a light illuminates the locker holding their pristine uniforms, badge, hats and gun belts.
"Although it might not have looked this pristine during his years here but it is definitely a reminder that (Gil) is still with us and we need to remember him," said Sgt. Mike Casavan, as he gestured toward Vega's locker. "For those of us who have been here awhile obviously we knew him, and seeing this is extremely important to us, and it provides a connection to us with him still even to this day."
A glass sheet replaced the door on Vega's locker. Inside, a long-sleeved dress uniform with six stripes is hung, representing Vega's more than 30 years as a member of Palm Springs' finest.
"His boots got a nice polish on them, his equipment is ready to go," showed off Casavan.
A Dallas Cowboys Football golf towel also cradles several golf balls, highlighting two of Vega's favorite hobbies.
"It's extremely important because you have to remember there's Officers that we currently have working here (at the PD) now that never knew Gil, that have been hired since 2016," reminded Casavan.
Vega and Zerebny were murdered on Oct. 8, 2016 by John Hernandez Felix, who was convicted by a jury in May.
An equally touching tribute is set up in the woman's locker room for Zerebny, including a photo of her holding her infant daughter, and a photo with her husband, who is also a law enforcement officer.
"When it was revealed, it completely reminded me of Lesley," said Zerebny's widower, Zack. "The camouflage on the lanyard, with the knife and the boot. Sandee (Boswell) knew Lesley so well."
Professional standards coordinator Sandee Bosler and Property technician Tim Thomas put the lockers together.
"They really did an incredible job," said Zack Zerebny.
"You know officers come into the locker room, they see this (honor locker), and it's a connection with the officers we've lost," said Casavan. It enables them to take a look at what is inside there and it's a daily reminder that you need to be on you 'A' game and you need to make sure you are safe at all times."
Casavan said the work and cost of the 'honor lockers' was donated entirely.
La Salle Lighting, Magic Glass, Galls and Flying Cross donated the materials and equipment. An anonymous donor also contributed toward the cost.
More: I-Team investigations
Find us on Facebook: KESQ News Channel 3
Follow us on Twitter for breaking news updates: @KESQ
We’re on Instagram! @KESQ_News_Channel_3
Noticias en español: Telemundo 15