BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County is a community that comes together to support its soldiers in tan and blue.
A ceremony that shut down part of downtown Bakersfield.
Hundreds gathered to pay tribute and honor those from the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The Kern County 999 foundation hosted its 15th annual Officer Down Ride.
“This ride is important for all law enforcement not just street cops but law enforcement all together,” Ryan Valverve an Officer Down event rider said.
Hundreds of supporters just like Valverve came out to downtown Bakersfield on their metal chariots. Some donning the American Flag.
“We talk about the people that die in the line of duty and we have those occasionally,” Donny Youngblood the Kern County Sheriff said. “They are tragic. In my career there are 17 names on that plaque since I worked here. That’s one every other year. Those are real people with real families with real children.”
Cynthia Zimmer, the district attorney of Kern County said crimes against peace officers is on a rise throughout the entire nation over the last year.
“Peace officers are very often victims,” Zimmer said. “They are victims of crime. They are shot at, stabbed, run over, hit with a bottle, hit with a rock, spit upon. That’s not just a cost of doing this it’s not acceptable. Those are crimes.”
The event had hundreds of motorcycles roll out of the downtown area in a procession that captivated the gazes of everyone around.
“Support your local law enforcement, you know there is a lot of great people that work law enforcement,” Valverve said. “Law enforcement is there to protect you. To keep the public safe. That’s all they’re there to do.”
The Kern County 999 Foundation is a nonprofit so the funds from the event and donations will bring support to the seriously injured and to the families who have lost a loved one.