"As CHP public safety dispatchers, we work very closely with the officers. We dispatch them to unsafe situations and it is our jobs, from the communication centers, to keep them as safe as humanly possible." - CHP-PSDA President & CSLEA Senior Vice President Tina Brazil
On May 5, 2015, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) held its annual Badges of Honor ceremony recognizing, remembering and paying respect to the 225 CHP officers who have been killed in the line of duty over the CHP's 86-year existence.
Every May, the CHP adds the names of those officers who sacrificed their lives for the safety of others in the previous year. Sadly, in 2014, CHP lost Officers Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez in a tragic vehicle accident. On February 17, 2014, the two partners were responding to an accident on a highway in Fresno. The crash was reported in one direction of the highway, when in fact, unbeknownst to the officers, it was in the direction they were traveling. In an effort to avoid striking the vehicles and people at the accident scene, the officers took evasive action, struck a guardrail and an exit sign before their patrol car flipped onto its roof.
"We can never pay enough respect to officers killed in the line of duty or to their families," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "We can never replace what these families have lost, never."
During the Badges of Honor ceremony, the names of each of the 225 CHP officers killed are read aloud, along with their division and their end of watch. A memorial bell is rung seven times for the seven points on the CHP badge representing character, integrity, judgment, loyalty, courtesy, honor and knowledge.
A wreath is placed at the CHP memorial fountain where the names of each officer killed in the line of duty is displayed. The families of officers killed in 2014 had an opportunity to see their loved one's name and place flowers at the site. Each family was escorted to the fountain by one or more CHP officers who also sat beside them throughout the ceremony.
"We are all a family, sworn or non-sworn, uniformed or plain clothes," said Tina Brazil, president of the CHP Public Safety Dispatchers Association (CHP-PSDA) and senior vice president of CSLEA. "Our hearts hurt for each of the families who attended the ceremony. Year after year, they come for the love and support of their CHP family. And we will always be there for them. Society can never pay back what they have lost, but we can stand beside them with love, pride and support."