In May of each year, we honor our fallen officers. While this year’s ceremonies have been postponed or changed, we can still celebrate and honor the lives and sacrifices of our fallen officers in many ways. Even during this pandemic, with its required social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we can find ways to remember and honor those who gave their lives in service to their communities. While I am saddened by the fact that we will not be able to participate in the formal and magnificent ceremonies that we have become accustomed to, I encourage all of us to find ways to remember and honor our fallen this month.
The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation (CPOMF) holds ceremonies in Sacramento each May to honor our state’s fallen officers. This year, CPOMF had scheduled to hold the Candlelight Vigil on Sunday, May 3, and the annual Enrollment Ceremony on Monday, May 4. The officers who were to be honored at the memorial were:
- Officer Natalie Corona of the Davis Police Department
- Sergeant Steve Licon of the California Highway Patrol, Riverside Area
- Officer Tara O’Sullivan of the Sacramento Police Department
- Officer Andre Moye Jr. of the California Highway Patrol, Riverside Area
- Deputy Brian Ishmael of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office
- Correctional Officer Armando Gallegos Jr. of the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
- Officer Toshio Hirai of the Gardena Police Department
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial ceremonies were scheduled to take place during National Police Week, May 10 through 16. A Candlelight Vigil was to be held on Wednesday, May 13, and the annual Memorial Service on Friday, May 15, to honor 307 fallen officers from across the country. A national virtual Candlelight Vigil and reading of the names that will be added to the memorial this year will still be held online on May 13.
Despite our social-distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders, there are many ways we can still honor our fallen. This May, especially on the days these memorial events were to be held, we can use our personal, association and department social media platforms to create posts and messages honoring our fallen officers. We can remember our fallen officers, their families, friends and co-workers in our prayers. We can wear black bands over our badges, pins on our uniforms and wristbands with the names of our fallen. We can decorate our spaces with blue and the “thin blue line” flag. We can take time to remember our fallen officers during our department briefings, meetings and events. In circumstances where we have personal relationships with a survivor, and when appropriate, we can reach out to them this month. We can make donations to our local, state and national memorials. We can fulfill our duties and serve our communities in ways that honor the memories of our fallen brothers and sisters.
In addition to remembering and honoring our fallen this year in our own ways, we will still formally honor those officers we lost in 2019. While the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony that was originally scheduled for May 4 has been canceled, we will honor the fallen from 2019 during next year’s ceremony in May 2021. Many local memorials will hold ceremonies later this year or as part of next year’s ceremonies.
This year, May has a special meaning for me, my department and my community. Officer Tara O’Sullivan was a special member of my department, the Sacramento Police Department, and her loss deeply affected me, my department and the members of the Sacramento community. Our greater Sacramento area also lost Officer Natalie Corona of the Davis Police Department and Deputy Brian Ishmael of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. I will honor these officers and all others who gave their lives in service of their communities this May, and I ask that you find ways to join me.