Tulare County law enforcement officers stood side by side, saluting and honoring the 23 men who died in the line of duty since 1889. This year, special tribute was paid to the most recent officer to fall, Detective Kent Haws, a sheriff's deputy shot and killed while investigating a carjacking last December. The day took an emotional toll on Haws' family.
Wanda Broesder, Kent Haws' mom, says, "I think that's what he would say to me- Thanks for being here, thanks for showing him respect, thanks for helping take care of his family, thanks for everything and thanks for loving him."
One of Haws' three sons cried as Sheriff Bill Wittman talked about the detective. Haws' wife held her child as they listened to stories about how much Haws loved his job, and the community.
Stephanie Bueno, Haw's step-sister says, "You know, today was a day of healing. The outpouring from the community being here warms our hearts to know that everybody is still with us on this."
Haws was on the elite S.T.E.P. Team, the Sheriff's version of S.W.A.T.. His fellow S.T.E.P. Team members saluted him and said seeing his name on the memorial will help them move forward.
Lt. Mike Boudreaux, says, "A ceremony such as this really puts closure to a lot of open wounds that have been felt over the course since December 17th."
Kent Haw's family will travel to Sacramento for the State Peace Officer's Memorial Ceremony on Friday. They will then head to Washington, D.C. for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.