Central California Cops ride for fallen officers

FRESNO, Calif.

Saturday morning, groups of motorcycle riders steadily made their way through Minkler. Alongside the road -- a Fresno County deputy, and a Reedley police officer stood watch, with a wreath between them. It represents their fellow fallen officers -- Deputy /*Joel Wahlenmaier*/ and /*Javier Bejar*/. Both of them died, after being injured during a shootout back in February of 2010.

While many people slowed down and waved, others, like Sanger reserve officer, Kim Pennington stopped to reflect. "You don't wanna forget it and you want to pay tribute for what they were doing, but we still have to carry on the mission every day that we work."

Paying tribute is what the Central California Cops Foundation has been doing since its 1996 inception.

Complete with a raffle, food, and music -- Saturday's ride is the organization's largest annual fundraiser.

The money raised is used to send families of fallen officers to the Peace Officer Memorials in both Sacramento and Washington DC.

Chapter president Leon Isaac lost his son, Fresno County Deputy Jeff Isaac, on September 8, 1997, after he died in a car crash while on duty. "It's a grieving process and for us to be able to come alongside other folks. I give back really more than I think I give."

Isaac says he's proud to see how much the group has grown. He estimates 700 people showed up to this year's event, including law enforcement from all over the Valley.

Kingsburg Police Chief Jeff Dunn said, "It affects all of us the same. We all work for different agencies, large small, Municipal County, but we're also doing the same service job in protecting the public wherever we are."

This is the ride's 9th year. But, since the group started in 1996, 24 families within a 14-county area have received some type of assistance.

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