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Tribute To Fallen Officers

Sonora, CA — A Peace Officers Memorial was held this afternoon at Courthouse Park in Sonora to honor those that have died in the line of duty. California lost 11 officers in 2010. The last Tuolumne County Officer to die in the line of duty was Sheriff’s Deputy David Grant in 2004.

Five of the fatalities last year were within the California Highway Patrol, the most that the agency has had in a single year since 1996. Sonora Area CHP Commander Sam Samra says the memorial was somber, but also a time to celebrate and honor the lives of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“You think about the families and the children that are impacted by that loss, and also the community itself,” says Samra. “It takes a long time for those wounds to heal.”


The names of the fallen officers were read off and honored. Speakers included Supervisor Randy Hanvelt, County Probation Division Manager Dan Hawks, Forest Service Patrol Captain Jay Power, Sheriff Jim Mele, Police Chief Mark Stinson, Sierra Conservation Center Warden Frank Chavez, Chaplain Rick Larson, Chaplain Dave Shoemaker and Samra.


Officers that were killed in 2010:


Officer Javier Bejar – Reedley PD
Sgt. Ira G. Essoe Jr – Orange County SD
Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier – Fresno County SD
Deputy Ken Collier – San Diego County SD
Officer Dan Benavides – Border Division CHP
Officer Tom Coleman – San Bernardino CHP
Officer Phillip Ortiz – West Los Angeles CHP
Officer Junstin McGrory – Barstow CHP
Officer Brett Oswold – Templeton CHP
Officer Christopher Wilson – San Diego PD
Officer Ryan Bonaminio – Riverside PD