CHICO, Calif. - Police gathered in Chico on Jan. 1 to honor officers killed in the line of duty in 2019.
The memorial was held at the historic Bidwell Mansion where people gathered for the Peace Officer Memorial ceremony.
Chico Police said 132 officers and 19 K-9 officers died in the line of duty in the U.S. in 2019 and during the ceremony, those who attended heard all the officer's names and saw lanterns lit in their honor.
"This is just a way for us to honor their legacy and show support for their sacrifice they made for this country and their municipalities," said Officer Paul Ratto.
The Chico Police Department's Explorer Program organized the event and is made up of young men and women between the ages of 14 to 21 who are interested in a career in law enforcement.
Also attending were the Chico Police Chaplains Association and the Officers' Association were also there.
"Any of these people would have come out to save you, how many people would do that?" said Robert Barnett, who came out to honor the fallen.
Chico City Councilman Sean Morgan came out for the event and says he's been coming for years.
"It's a deep, meaningful thing, any time someone is willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us we should honor those especially when they lose everything to do it," said Morgan.
Morgan added he is happy he saw kids there paying their respect.
"They are here to protect us, children should not be afraid of police officers, they should be someone they look up to and someone they respect, so when they come to events like this and see these are the people willing to make this society civil when evil is knocking at the door, it is a great event for kids too," said Morgan.
The event also honored a retired Chico Police Officer who died in 2019.
"So Officer Darrin Reichel succumbed to a long and courageous battle with cancer this past December. He was an officer who worked for the department for over 20 years and I was with him on the call as a sergeant where he was exposed to a chemical that ultimately took his life," said Chico Police Chief Michael O'Brien.
O'Brien added it is important to honor the service and sacrifice these men and women made.