Right here in San Diego County, the number of line-of-duty deaths of police officers and deputy sheriffs are just as disturbing as the statewide numbers. Dan Bessant became the 78th name added to the list of our local home town heroes and each of them have their own stories.  The very first recorded line-of-duty death in San Diego County was Deputy Andrew Kriss, who died on May 25, 1864.  Kriss was killed in a shootout with horse thieves he was pursuing into Mexico.  Each of those 78 names was someone’s son or daughter, perhaps too a spouse or parent of a child. They all have their own stories about their life and how they served the community. The one sure thing they all have in common is how their story ends.

Much is done to remember them and keep their name alive for all to know. With the support of the Board of Supervisors, Crime Commission, Deputy Sheriff’s Foundation and San Diego Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, and many other law enforcement groups, we are proceeding with the design and construction of a permanent regional law enforcement memorial.  It will be in the open space area on the harbor side of the County Administration Center and its design is nearing completion. This will give a place to honor and remember the names of those who gave their lives protecting the citizens of this county. What better place could there be than the seat of county government with an eternal view for our heroes’ names of the sunset across San Diego Bay?

— JIM DUFFY

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