The badge signifies duty and honor, in death as in life

The flag-draped coffin of California Highway Patrol Officer Nathan Taylor passes saluting officers after his funeral in Rocklin.
The flag-draped coffin of California Highway Patrol Officer Nathan Taylor passes saluting officers after his funeral in Rocklin. The Associated Press

I would like to thank members of the public for their overwhelming support of the California Highway Patrol following the recent death of Officer Nathan Taylor.

I am still in awe of the level of compassion demonstrated by so many – those who lined overpasses and roadsides as his funeral procession went by, those who sent messages of condolence, and those who traveled from near and far to pay their respects.

When Officer Taylor successfully completed the Highway Patrol academy in October 2010, I presented him a badge on behalf of the people of California. It was a gold badge with seven points, signifying his commitment to uphold character, integrity, knowledge, judgment, honor, loyalty and courtesy.

He proudly wore the badge for almost six years and exemplified all that the badge represents. This is the calling of all members of law enforcement who serve with honor and a deep compassion. There are many who serve with distinction; this is the realm in which Taylor did his job each and every day.

Our department’s mission is to provide safety, service and security to the people of California. Officer Taylor epitomized the meaning of these tenets; his commitment to the mission will be his legacy and it speaks volumes about the person he really was.

It was his lifetime dream to become an officer with the Highway Patrol. He quietly and selflessly represented us with a tremendous level of respect for those he served and made an impact on the lives of everyone he came in contact with.

We are honored a man of his caliber wore our badge. It was with great sadness, but with great honor, that I was able to retire Taylor’s badge and present it to his wife, Becky, during Tuesday’s memorial service.

Law enforcement is one of the most rewarding professions, yet it is extremely dangerous. In the 87-year history of this department, 226 officers have laid down their lives in the line of duty. Being a peace officer requires great skill and high degrees of commitment, empathy and humility. Most importantly, it takes the support from the communities that we serve.

Again, I would like to thank the countless individuals and organizations for your kind words during this very difficult time. You do not realize the strength that your trust and support bring to the California Highway Patrol and the entire law enforcement family. For this you have my sincerest gratitude.

Joe Farrow is commissioner of the California Highway Patrol. He can be contacted at