Ceremonies held across Central Valley to honor fallen officers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Sunday marks the beginning of National Police Week, starting with Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Earlier this month, Fresno County honored three men for their service: Fresno County Sheriff's detective Jose Mora, and Fresno police officers Angel De La Fuente and Sergeant Paul Brown.

All three died of COVID-19, which for the past two years has been the leading cause of death among law enforcement nationwide.

"We're here to protect, whether we're battling the COVID crisis or the crisis on the street. Officers are out there to protect communities," said Mike Salas with the California Highway Patrol.

Last year, 458 officers died in the line of duty in the United States. 301 of them died of the virus.

For two years, peace officers have been on the front lines of the pandemic, but even without the virus, being a police officer is one of the most dangerous jobs.

"It is dangerous but those men and women are there everyday to serve and protect. They're there to put that uniform on to let that community know we are here to protect you and to make sure you make it to the next day," said Salas.

Merced and Visalia honored fallen officers with ceremonies earlier on Sunday.

President Biden called for all flags across the country to be lowered to half-staff.

"It's one of those things where you just don't know what's going to happen the morning you go and don your badge - whether you're wearing a tan uniform, blue, green uniform - you are out there serving your community," said Salas.

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