Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Senior Trooper Maria Mignano

Oregon State Police, Oregon

End of Watch Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Senior Trooper Maria Mignano

I well remember learning of the horrific accident on I-5, south of Salem, the way it rocked local communities, the pall that fell over Salem, Albany, the State of Oregon. I learned your name, Officer Mignano..., and paused. Somehow I remembered the name of an OSP officer with whom I spoken by phone on a summer, Sunday evening. I had been on the way to church in Salem, I was to lead singing and a few minutes delay would make me late. As I entered the southbound traffic on I-5 at the Hwy 22 interchange I witnessed someone struggling to keep from being thrown out of a Chevy van. I called 911, was immediately connected with OSP dispatch, and reported following the vehicle as far as the southbound Kubler exit. Moments later, a female officer called me back, thanked me for the report and informed me the vehicle had been stopped and the occupants, participants in a domestic dispute, were all safe. The officer's name was Maria Mignano.

In the days following her death, my son and middle daughter informed me they also recognized her name. On the evening of one of their high school graduations -- can't remember which one -- they were wound up with the festivities, drank coffee at Dennys with friends 'til the wee hours, then stopped to feed the ducks on State St, near the Oregon Womens Prison..., and were "rousted" by a female OSP officer, Maria Mignano. Rather quickly satisfied they weren't staging a prison break, and they having told her they had been to a Christian High School graduation earlier that evening, Officer Mignano mischievously asked them to quote her some Scripture! Touche'!

Within a relatively short time from the events related above, my wife was victimized by a minor traffic skirmish in a Salem parking lot. After she exchanged relevant information with the other driver, a female OSP officer approached from a neighboring restaurant, offered her card and told my wife she had witnessed the minor accident and would be available if there was any corroborative witness required. Upon learning the identity of the female OSP officer killed on I-5, Sept, 2001, my wife dug out her card. Maria Mignano.

Coincidence? I hardly think so. Four members of one household had been privileged to have had contact with an exemplary public servant, in the line of duty, doing what she had been trained to do, and doing it well. We had good reason to remember her the day she was killed. Doing what she did. Doing it well. Stopped to help along a busy hiway. As born again Christians, we are thrilled to know that, by her own unashamed testimony, she was "ready to go." As one of her close friends remarked in another remembrance, she was so excited at the prospect of "seeing Jesus."

No regrets, Officer Mignano.
You finished well.
We're honored.

Dan Wray
Just an impressed, grateful citizen

August 27, 2021

The true measure of a person
is not found in the
might of their arm,
their wealth
or their power –
it is found in the strength
of their character.

There is no greater testimony to
ones character, than ones
willingness to sacrifice all,
in the noble quest of
providing protection to all
whom they serve.
Author Unknown

Javier Cornejo
Police Officer, Retired
City of Milwaukee Police Department
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

May 14, 2021

I am sad to learn of the passing of a Sister and Hero in Senior Trooper Maria Mignano. I believe our Heavenly Father has welcomed her home into his loving arms where she will now patrol the Golden Streets of Heaven. May the Lord deliver Blessings, Comfort and Peace to her Family, Friends and all members of the Oregon State Police, Oregon.

Retired, T W Martinez
FOP member
State of New Mexico/JJS

May 14, 2021

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

May 13, 2021

Rest in peace always and please know that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your fellow law enforcement.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 4, 2020

For those who understand and get it, no words or explanation is necessary.
For those who have not been in the trenches and don't understand, no explanation will help.
They signed a blank check to protect and defend the public. God bless their families.

Lyle Stephenson
Salem PD

September 6, 2019

I remember the day of this accident and the deaths of the two officers and the serious injuries sustained by Sgt. Burright. When they dropped the charges against the juvenile, it infuriated me and angered my father a former Chief of Police here in Oregon. What angered me the most was what was said about the driver, "He just is a good kid." They did not want to ruin his future life, what about the two officers that were KIA'd that day, what about their and their families future lives. How about the life changing injuries sustained by Sgt. Burright and the effects on his family. That kid still needs to be in jail, he fell asleep at the wheel and murdered those officers, just as if he had picked up a gun and shot them to death.

I am the daughter of a Chief of Police who was gunned down in 1959 while trying to stop a fleeing would be bank robber, I nearly lost my Dad that day and will always remember the State Trooper who walked into my class room and carried me home while he wept. The current Superintendent of the OSP was outside playing on his porch and the Trooper that was with Dad could not return fire in fear of striking him.

I am now a Disabled American Veteran having served during both the Viet Nam Era and as an Army Medic during 1st Gulf War. Every time I read of a fallen officer, I cry for them and his/her family. I grew up with State Troopers as my best friends.

R. A. Kemnow, HM2c(FMF)/USN, Sgt/USAR, LPN (ret)

Richelle A Kemnow, Hm2c(FMF)/USN
Disabled American Veteran

August 23, 2019

Don't ever plea bargain an officers death! The officer is worth so much more than that. People who kill cops, whether it is deliberate or not deserve no less than the max. The community and their family and friend expect nothing less!

Boo the prosecutor and the judge who allowed it.

Giving the max says, u deserve nothing less, we respect u, and we greatly thank u for your service!

Joyce Yagoda, RN
Albany Medical Center

March 21, 2019

Rest in peace Senior Trooper Mignano.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

February 24, 2019

Trooper Mignano we remember and pray for you today.

Chief of Police University of Oregon Pol
University of Oregon Police Department

January 21, 2019

Rest in peace my sister. Thank you for your service.

Lieutenant Ray Flores
NYPD (retired)

September 4, 2018

Rest In Peace Sister in Blue. You are honored and remembered on the 17th anniversary of your EOW. Thank you and your family and friends for your sacrifice and service.

Officer Mike Robinson (Ret.)
Upland Police Dept. CA

September 4, 2018


You and I were such good friends who liked to tease each other every chance we got. I didn't work with you as a cop, I'm way too chicken for any of that. I worked with you as an admitting clerk at the Salem Hospital long before you ever were an Oregon State Senior Trooper. You took me under your very bossy Christian wing (I say that only with respect and love in my heart) and we became close friends working those long graveyard hours in the ER. You loved to pull out your Bible and read to me and I used to always say, "put your Bible away Maria, I am not the devil and I definitely don't need to be saved." You also loved to tease me on a regular basis and I loved you for it. When I walked into the room for my shift you liked to announce my arrival by singing a rendition of the Miss America song like this: "there she is, miscellaneous." My song for you was, "How do you solve a problem like Maria," from The Sound of Music.

This was our relationship. We treated each other like sisters and I grew to love you like a sister. I will always remember the night you told me you were leaving the hospital to go become a police officer. I begged you not to. You told me it was your dream. I backed off. I never wanted to steal anyone's dream, however I worried about my friend. I was afraid something would happen to you.

I eventually left the hospital and Maria and I lost touch. One evening I was watching the 11:00 news. I was a bit distracted until I heard them say, "Maria Mignano." Then I listened. The reporter told me that you were killed in the line of duty. I re-wound the television about a million times, my mind just couldn't believe what I was hearing. I cried myself to sleep that night.

I attended your funeral. I remember it like it was yesterday as I stood alone with people all around me. The bagpipes, the tribute, just the love being shown for you and the pageantry of the event made me smile. It was almost overwhelming how many people came out to pay tribute to you. Police officers from all over the country were there for my friend. I knew I didn't have to worry about you. Maria, you were the most religious and faithful person I have ever met. I knew how much you looked forward to the day you could meet Jesus. I remember thinking to myself, "way to go Maria, way to go." I was overwhelmed with emotion and pride for you at that moment. I went to the cemetery after the ceremony so I would know where you were buried. I still come by to see you from time to time. You are buried near another dear friend of mine that I lost in high school and not too far from my grandma. I know too many people buried at Belcrest Memorial Cemetery I'm sad to say.

It's been a long time since you left us but I know somehow you are still around pulling for us just like you always have. I am proud to say I knew you once. You will always occupy a place in my heart. Maria Mignano, you're a very special lady and I hope you're still guiding me from above.

Julie Coons
Co-worker at Salem Hospital and Friend

May 24, 2018

Rest in Peace Senior Trooper Maria Mignano. Thank You for your Service and Sacrifice protecting the citizens of The Great State of Oregon.

I Pray for Peace for your Family, Friends and those brave souls who have chosen to follow in your footsteps. I also Pray that the scum that murdered you burns forever in the lake of fire!


Senior Special Agent Barry Sherwood Ret.
Port Terminal Railroad Police Houston, TX

September 23, 2016

She was a social friend who I enjoyed country dancing with for more than a year. Her death was terrible shock in and outside the law enforcement community. I went to her memorial service in Salem, where hundreds of officers from dozens of agencies attended and the governor spoke. Sorry I never told her how much I enjoyed our friendship. She will be missed.

Mark Gardner

February 4, 2016

I remember her as a fine trooper and a very friendly young lady. She was a fine example of a believer in Christ.

R. Maurer, retiree

September 12, 2015

Trooper Mignano was an amazing lady and an excellent cop. Her death was felt among all who worked with her.

In terms of the sentence: the person who killed her was a university RA who was driving back to campus without enough sleep and falling asleep at the wheel. He was, by all accounts, an fine young man. He was overwrought and emotional at sentencing. Trooper Mignano's (twin) sister and family asked the court to show leniency and gave the man their forgiveness. It was a truly amazing proceeding to sit through, and touched everyone in the room (though some of us disagreed with the leniency given).

Deputy DA Chris Piekarski (resigned)
Marion Co DA

January 4, 2015

What kind of sentence is that?

Brian Pruitt

December 23, 2013

I am in awe at the sentence this individual received for killing two officers and the impact this had on the loved ones left behind. Know that you have not been forgotten as true heroes never die. Continue to keep watch over all of your loved ones. Thank you for your dedicated service to others.

Bob Gordon
Father of Fallen Chicago Officer: Michael P. Gordon, EOW: 8/8/04

September 4, 2013

Heroes live forever, Trooper Mignano, and we will never forget. Thank you for the sacrifice you made for the great State of Oregon.

Greater Houston C.O.P.S.

September 4, 2013

Dearest Maria: You were like a sister to treated me like family, well, we were family...I'm a believer too.

The last time I spoke to you on the phone, you were practicing your Flamenco dancing, something you loved to do. I am sure you have been up there in heaven, dancing!!!!

I will always love and miss you Maria, I can't wait for the day to see you again....until then, keep on dancing!!!!

sister in Christ

November 8, 2012

When I was told that our Family lost Maria I stood stunned for along time. That one of Maria's fellow Officer was lost as well left me pale. I cared about Maria very much. She was one of the first Women in our Family to become a member of Law Enforcement.

Maria was the beauty of our Family. Her interests left me puzzled. A Flamenco dancing lover of Jesus, State trooper. I was glad for her and proud. It eases my mind that Maria spoke about her God and shared him with other's. If I could tell her not to go out on that day, or not to stop and help out a disabled motorist, I would be denying Maria her real occupation and that was to always be a very present help in a time of trouble. To know that she walked with a fellow Officer that had similar empathy makes me feel better but sadder. Two good people gone. I love them both for their selflessness.

When I review those last few moments of my Cousin's life and Officer Hoerauf I can only be comforted by the Psalmist who writes "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15. Maria and Jason, I wish I could call you and distract you for just a few minutes so as to avoid this hour. ...Precious.

Survivor Family Member

September 4, 2012

I had the pleasure of working with Maria as DRE's and as friends. She was an outstanding officer, and a gentle soul. I was proud of her service, her compassion for her fellow man, and her abilities as an officer.

Officer Sean Thomas
US Forest Service Law Enforcement

September 3, 2012


I finally noticed the memorial sign on I-5 today. I told my wife the story of your passing. I also what a great neighbor you had been to my parents during the late 90s. They were always impressed with you and after meeting you I was as well. The world is lesser with out you yet better for you having been a part of it.

Todd Benson

September 2, 2012


I will never forget my first day on the job.

I was very nervous and focused on trying to remember a million and one details. I could not figure out how I got a job as a trooper -- I thought I was dreaming when I suited up that day and kept thinking I was going to wake up and be back in school dreaming about being a cop.

You must have seen a terrified look on my face because you walked over to me, introduced yourself, shook my hand, and said, "Hi. I'm Maria. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. Don't let these guys scare you. None of us really knows what we are doing. We just do everything with style and folks think we have a clue. You'll get it and do fine."

Our friendship began there.

Years later, when I went through my divorce, you were there to offer kind, supportive words and prayers. You even offered some old furniture to help me get my awful apartment furnished.

As the years passed you became a constant source of joy, laughter, inspiration, quiet reflection, and even frustration.

How many arguments did we have about everything from trying to figure out what drug our 12-31s were using to how to roll a suspect during an interview? I lost count!("He's nuts, Maria, not high!" I'd say. "He's wasted! Look at him! Gotta be meth!" you'd screech back at me.)

What I really loved about you was your spirit. SEVERAL times when you forgot to turn off the amber flashers on your lightbar when clearing a traffic stop your coach began calling you "Amber". He even put an "Amber" label on the back of your key tag for the squadroom keyboard. Did you get mad? Nope. You embraced it and even answered to the name Amber.

I will NEVER EVER forget the time you accidentally let a suspect have the car keys back after you pinched him for UUMV!! He was recog-ed from MARCO, took a cab back to the office, and he promptly STOLE THE CAR AGAIN!!! Within an hour a shrine to "St. Maria, Patron Saint of Car Thieves" was posted on the shotgun locker.

The very last conversation we had was a discussion about your trip to the Holy Land, and we sat at the squadroom table for an hour (when we should have been on the road!) looking at your pictures of the place where Jesus walked.

We talked about how lucky we were to be instruments of peace, not conflict. We both felt so blessed to be able to show God's love to the 1%.

You sincerely changed how I viewed law enforcement. Within a few months of starting my career I began to believe that anyone but a cop was a potential dirtbag and could not be trusted. After we had a chance to work together you helped me realize that most people are good, not bad; and God thought it was hilarious to place just the bad eggs in our path to test our resolve.

It did not surprise me at all when I reported at your casket to relieve the final watch and I looked down at you and saw you were wearing the most beautiful Flaminco dress. You were surrounded by all the stuff the other patrols left for you....Kung Fu movies, patches, hats, throwing stars, knives, little trinkets, souveniers of your tour, and notes bearing kind words. The only thing missing were your HUGE Raybans that you wore -- and made me giggle everytime I saw you.

You looked so beautiful and peaceful.

It was an honor to pin my DRE instructor pin on your gown.

You were such a funny, tiny woman....a martial artist, Flamenco dancer, Christian, and cop. So complicated and so kind -- always a bulldog, stubborn, and driven.

My oldest child was just 4 years old when we lost you. My middle daughter was just 4 months old. Now my girls are in middle school and high school.

I can't believe it's been more than a decade.

I am so proud to tell my girls -- everytime we drive past your memorial -- about my tiny friend named Maria who was a ninja cop dancer and a woman who made her dreams come true. I tell them that, like you, they should never, ever be afraid to pursue their dreams, ignore the naysayers, and never give up; that if they work hard, pray hard, honor God, and fly straight there is nothing they can't do.

Maria, I really do miss you very, very much. You were a good friend, a good cop, and a good woman. Thank you for sharing time with me. Thank you for sharing Jesus with me. Thank you for never changing.

I am so sad for losing you, my friend. But, I am joyful because I know I will see my sister again. I can't wait to 12-6 at Shari's in heaven, where we will drink bottomless coffee, laugh about old times, I can brag about my girls, and we can catch up.

Please give all the fallen a hug from all of us. Tell them thank you and we love and miss them all.

And remember as you patrol in heaven don't forget to turn your ambers, Amber. And, double check your evals with another instructor before you signoff on them! Don't make me come up there, lady!

Peace and Love, Little Sister. Thanks for being there.

Thanks for being you.

Rest easy, 2128.

a fellow Senior Trooper, Patrol Division
Oregon State Police

August 29, 2012

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.