Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera Sheriff Jay Varney bows his head as Madera Police Chaplain Pastor Tim Echevarria gives the invocation during Madera County’s 12th annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at Courthouse Park on Tuesday.
Residents, families of the fallen and uniformed officers from all departments across Madera County gathered at the 12th annual Law Enforcement Memorial event on Tuesday to honor and commemorate the officers — six men and one woman — who had lost their lives in the line of duty, serving Madera since 1919.
The somber ceremony included candles, music, the reading of officers names and the laying of white roses at the granite memorial wall engraved with their names and the dates of their end of watch.
Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno echoed the thoughts of many when she said Madera County has been fortunate.
“We have to thank God that the last name on this list was put on in 1975. And how do we honor their memory? The way I think we can honor that memory is to keep our eye on what’s going on with law enforcement in our community and to keep them safe. While thank God Madera didn’t suffer any losses this year, our nation as a whole lost 144 officers (in the line of duty.) That trend is up since 2017, by 12 percent.
“We lost more officers to gunfire than to traffic collisions. We lost another 42 to illnesses brought on by the line of duty. In 2018 we lost 134 men and 10 women officers across the nation. Their average age was 41, on average they had 12 years as law enforcement officers. And on average they left 2 children without a parent. Five of them were ambushed on duty. That’s better than 2010 when 10 officers were ambushed on duty,” Moreno said.
Moreno said she was proud to encourage residents to continue to support and value the many departments of law enforcement in their community.
“This community has always done an excellent job of supporting and equipping officers so they can focus on their jobs, of protecting the communities in which they serve.”
Moreno also encouraged residents to become aware of what laws are being passed, do their civic duty and stay engaged.
“There are some laws that make it more difficult for law enforcement to do their jobs. It’s important that we as citizens read (ballot measures) carefully and discuss these ideas, and get to root of what is happening. We need to listen and come together to support these officers.
The 12 percent increase (in fatalities) is going in the wrong direction. It’s up to us citizens to be involved, pay attention and be sure we are passing laws that help our law enforcement keep us safe. That’s how we remember, and how we keep our community safe,” she said.