“The world is a better place because of Luca, and he will forever be our hero.”
On May 20, friends, family, community members, and fellow law enforcement officers gathered to honor fallen San Luis Obispo Police Department, Detective Luca Benedetti.
Almost 2,000 people gathered at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo for the memorial service.
Det. Benedetti (37) was killed in the line of duty on May 10 while serving a search warrant.
Rick Comstock, Atascadero Police Department (APD) chaplain, opened the service with a prayer.
Newly appointed SLOPD Police Chief Rick Scott said, “Luca was an example of the best we have to offer. He was courageous. He was compassionate. He was friendly, honorable, and he was kind.”
Cheif Scott said he did not know Det. Benedetti but wished he had the chance.
“He understood that at any moment everything he cared about in this world could be taken away in an instant, and yet he wore his badge, and he wore it with honor,” Chief Scott said.
Comstock shared Benedetti’s life story, a story that was cut too short.
As a son of two Italian immigrants, Benedetti valued his Italian roots.
Benedetti was born on Mar. 31, 1984, in San Francisco to parents Giampietro Benedetti and Rita Ginocchio Benedetti, who immigrated to the states as teenagers to make a life for themselves in a new country.
Growing up, he spent summers visiting the small Italian towns his parents were born in. Benedetti’s family described him as their rock, surrounded by the sea–just like Italy.
Benedetti moved to San Luis Obispo (SLO) in 2002 to study Computer Engineering at Cal Poly.
While still in college, he worked as a bouncer at The Library, a bar in downtown SLO. It was there he met his future wife, Grace, in 2006. The two bonded over their shared love of family, craft beer, and friends.
Grace and Benedetti married in on Feb. 23, 2013 at Castoro Cellars. They welcomed their first child, Elisabetta (Ellie), on Jul. 5, 2014, and then Giovanna (Giovi) on Oct. 11, 2018.
Benedetti began his law enforcement career at APD in 2008. He was awarded for leading the department in DUI arrests four years in a row and even delivered a baby in the department’s parking lot.
In 2012, Benedetti joined SLOPD, where he again excelled as a DUI Enforcement Officer. By November 2020, Benedetti was assigned to the Detective Bureau as a Property Crimes Detective.
Sergeant Caleb Kemp, SLOPD, said of Benedetti, “Detective Luca Benedetti died with a warrior’s heart, serving his community and doing what he loved. I want to thank the Benedetti family for sharing him with the rest of the world and thank Luca for sharing himself with all of us.
To my fellow officers, during this time of grieving, do not allow yourself to succumb to the guilt that we all feel. The guilt of what happened, the guilt of not stopping it. The guilt of feeling sad when the family has it much worse than we. The guilt of experiencing happy moments or the guilt of just living when Luca cannot.
We will heal, we will never forget, but we will heal. Luca’s sacrifice, legacy, will permanently be etched into the lives he touched, living his life to the fullest.”
The police car sitting on the lawn of the SLOPD is Unit 1609, which was Benedetti’s car and still is.
Following the service, a procession led by law enforcement agencies from all over the state brought Benedetti to his final resting place at the Paso Robles Cemetary for a private graveside ceremony.
The Redding Police Department, Menlo Park Police Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, Carson City Nevada Sheriff’s Office, City of Fresno Police, Manhattan Beach Police, and San Diego County Sheriff’s Office were just some of the agencies involved.
Along Highway 101 North, the community, local law enforcement, fire, and emergency services lined the sides of the road and overpasses. Waving American Flags, signs of support, and standing in salute to the fallen officer.
Brotherhood for the Fallen, a non-profit organization that honorably supports the families and communities of fallen officers across the United States, sent Brotherhood members from Texas and New York to the service.
A flyer passed out at the service read the following of Benedetti:
“A man of a few words with a calm demeanor, Luca let his guard down at home to share a gentle, silly side with his wife and two girls. Always determined to learn new skills, Luca tackled anything, from remodeling the master bathroom to building his own wood-fired pizza oven. He loved to cook and always said, ‘Why go out to eat when I can make it better?’
Luca also enjoyed his other hobbies of hunting, competitive shooting, and gardening.
Luca is survived and forever loved by his wife of eight years, Grace; daughters Elisabetta (6) and Giovanna (2); parents Giampietro and Rita; sister Carla, her husband and son, and a host of extended relatives and friends.
The world is a better place because of Luca, and he will forever be our hero.”