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California peace officers honor fallen comrades

California peace officers honor fallen comrades

Doug Villars, president of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen reads the poem 'The monument' written by the late Sgt. George Hahn of the LAPD durinbg the 41st Annual California Peace Officers Memorial Ceremonies in Sacramento on Monday
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Doug Villars, president of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen reads the poem 'The monument' written by the late Sgt. George Hahn of the LAPD durinbg the 41st Annual California Peace Officers Memorial Ceremonies in Sacramento on Monday

Law enforcement agencies from across California converged Monday on the State Capitol for an annual ceremony at the California Peace Officer’s Memorial.

Among those to honor officers killed in the of duty in 2016 were Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

“We’re not perfect. Our society is not perfect. There are forces of darkness, and instead of giving into that, we constantly have to resist darkness,” Brown said. “Officers every day are out there as the expression of our law, which is at the heart of a democracy and a free country.

“This ceremony is all about those who have died and our remembrance of them, but it’s also about digging deeper into our own understanding of what it means to be a citizen of this country and this state,” he said. “It is intimately connected with our traditions, with our law and the enforcement of that law.”

Chief Bryan Reyes of the Palm Springs Police Department, which lost two officers in October, delivered the ceremony’s keynote address, which drew prolonged applause from the hundreds of officers from across the state in attendance.

“We need to have a courageous conversation about the watering down of the California criminal justice system,” Reyes said.

“This ceremony, and the honor we’re paying to the officers who died in the line of duty is not only important, but it serves a very fundamental purpose of uniting us together in...commitment and appreciation of our state, for our people and for our way of life.”

The ceremony Monday honored 10 officers killed in the line of duty in 2016: Deputy Scott Ballantyne of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, CHP Officer Nathan Taylor, Officer Michael J. Katherman of the San Jose Police Department, Officer Jonathan M. DeGuzman of the San Diego Police Department, Sgt. Steve Owen of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, officers Jose Gilbert “Gil” Vega and Lesley Zerebny of the Palm Springs Police Department, Deputy Jack Hopkins of the Modoc County Sheriff’s Department, Sgt. Alfonso Lopez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and Deputy Dennis Wallace of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.

The ceremony also honored five enrollees from previous years: Officer Paul M. Carlisle of the Oakland Police Department, and Sgt. Thomas J. Fonte, Deputy Marshal Frederick F. Moore, Constable Charles W. Winston, and Deputy Arthur J. Solomon of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,

A candlelight vigil was held Sunday at the monument before the formal ceremony Monday, attended by officers from across the state.

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