Fallen law enforcement officers honored during ceremony
Fallen officers were honored during the 14th annual Merced County Peace Officer’s Memorial ceremony on Wednesday at the Merced County Administration Building.
Los Banos Police Chief Gary Brizzee and UC Merced Police Chief Chou Her read aloud the names of Merced County’s 17 fallen officers, each being honored with the toll of a bell.
“I’ve said this many times before, what we do is not natural,” said Merced Police Chief Chris Goodwin as he spoke to those in attendance. “Putting a gun belt on and a vest isn’t natural just to go to work.”
Goodwin said more than 100 officers were killed nationwide in 2018.
“Eleven were killed in California alone, which included Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh from our neighboring county,” he said.
Goodwin also mentioned the recent killing of Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen, stating that the veteran officer of 24 years had planned to retire at the end of the year.
“Our officers do a very hard job; most of the time thankless,” said Goodwin. “Working weekends and holidays when their friends are with their family. Working nights and sleeping during the day and we need your support more now than we ever have, not only when bad things happen.”
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke closed the ceremony and addressed the multiple law enforcement agencies and their explorer programs in attendance.
“The groups that are here represent the love that we have for our law enforcement community,” Warnke said. “With all the tragedy that’s been going on with our agencies, it’s very refreshing to see our young people stepping up to take our places when we are no longer doing the service.”