HEROES NOT FORGOTTEN

The Oxnard Police Department honored seven officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. This was the 13th annual Oxnard Police Department Memorial Ceremony Wednesday, May 9, 2012. The ceremony paid tribute to Deputy Constable Andrew McNaughton, Constable William E. Kelley, Officer Albert Gasperetti, Officer Frederick John Clark, Senior Officer John Adair, Officer Jim O’Brien and Officer James Jensen who were killed over the course of the department’s history.

To honor the fallen heroes, family members, friends, many elected officials, law enforcement representatives, community leaders and many residents were present at the event.
The Oxnard Police Department Memorial Ceremony was open to the public and started at 10:30 a.m., and lasted about 30 minutes. The ceremony took place directly outside the Oxnard Police Department Office near the intersection of Third and “C” Streets.

"According to the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund, peace officer fatalities are down about 40 percent when compared to this same time last year. There have been 40 officers killed in our nation so far this year and that is too many, and we will never forget about you," said Oxnard Chief of Police Jeri Williams.
Next Monday marks the beginning of National Police Week. Police Week began in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. During that week, as many as 40,000 law enforcement officers from around the world travel to Washington, DC, to honor those officers that paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

"Nationwide, last year witnessed a slight increase in the number of officers that were killed in the line of duty. 166 peace officers lost their lives. Of this number, hostile gunfire continues to be the most significant factor in their deaths, with 67 losing their lives in this manner. 47 lost their lives in a number of incidents related to motor vehicles, with traffic collisions accounting for 34 of them. 12 more were killed by vehicular assault. These deaths occurred in a wide variety of situations. Some were engaged in high risk tactical situations. Others were killed while responding to domestic disputes. Some were handling what many would consider to be “routine” functions of officers, such as conducting a traffic stop, or checking on someone’s well being. Regardless, the end result was the same – a tragedy that impacts many," said Jason Benites, Assistant Police Chief.

Irene Pinkard

"One common denominator for all of those officers who were killed in the line of duty is that they did not expect this to happen to them on the date that became known as their “end of watch.” Many said good-bye to their families before the start of their shift, expecting to be home at the end of their workday, or work night. Spouses, children, and parents did not expect to receive the dreaded notification, or participate in a police funeral, or be handed an American flag at a graveside – they just wished that their loved one had simply returned home safely," Benites said.


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