EL CENTRO – Dozens of cop cars and motorcycles, lights flashing and sirens wailing, paraded down a blocked off Main Street Friday night as hundreds attended this year’s Imperial Valley Law Enforcement Memorial Friday night on the steps of the Imperial County Courthouse in El Centro.
The annual event is hosted by the Imperial Valley Law Enforcement Memorial Committee (IVLEM) to honor and remember the 39 men and women of Imperial Valley law enforcement agencies who gave their lives in the line of duty serving and protecting Imperial Valley citizens.
“These officers left their homes in the morning, told their spouses, ‘See you tonight after work,’ and never came home,” said Wes Borner, a California Highway Patrol Officer as well as a member of the IVLEM Committee.
“It is about remembering them, for their families to know that we haven’t forgotten, and for the younger officers as well,” Borner said.
The event has taken place since 2009 and is held every year in May. There are displays with the honored officers’ career details and a brief biography of each of the 39 fallen law enforcement officers.
The night began with the parade of lights as law enforcement vehicles from all branches of Imperial Valley law enforcement, with sirens on, cruised up Main Street to park the vehicles in front of the courthouse, followed by a ceremonial walk of a riderless horse to honor the fallen.
The crowd was silent as the 39 names were read aloud along with a member of law enforcement standing on the courthouse steps ringing a symbolic bell after each name.
“There is several agencies who put this on together, there’s no one agency that puts this on, its a group effort from everybody and it has to be,” said Borner.
“It’s not a Sheriff’s function, it’s not a Highway Patrol function, it’s a law enforcement function.”
The committee is also hoping to establish a Law Enforcement Memorial at the Pioneers Memorial Museum with information of each officer as well as their family members and their agency.