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National police memorial for fallen officers goes virtual during pandemic

Several officers from Northern California will be honored virtually from our nation's capitol in place of an annual memorial during police week

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The National Police Memorial held in Washington D.C. every year during Police Week will be held virtually this year for the law enforcement community and family of fallen officers to continue to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

For some people in the Sacramento area, that means memorializing Sacramento Police Officer Tara O'Sulllivan, Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona and El Dorado County Deputy Brian Ishmael will have to be done online.

"I met Tara when she was 15-years-old. She came in to be an explorer with us. She was quiet at first but as I got to know her, that was more front and she was going to be a real go-getter," said Sgt. Fred Ferrer, with the Martinez Police Department.

Sacramento Police Officer Tara O'Sullivan was killed doing what she wanted to do — helping those who needed it and protecting the community in which she lived. She was 26.

"She was ready for life. The job was going to be part of that," Ferrer said. 

This week, Ferrer would have been finishing a 300-plus mile bicycle ride in honor of O'Sullivan, who he trained since she was a teenager.

The ride is part of the Police Unity Tour. It starts in New Jersey and ends in Washington D.C. with the streets lined with families of the fallen.

"It's been tough. When I first got the news, that this was going to be canceled, I literally stopped training. I took it hard. I'm not one for the fanfare, ball games and picnics," Sgt. Ferrer said.

He was anxious for the week with so many emotions to push through. Now, officers who planned to ride are still completing the ride, virtually.

"That's the closest to losing a daughter that I could ever feel so it meant a lot to me to ride today and great her parents and siblings," Sgt. Ferrer said.

Davis Police will also be watching the memorial virtually this year for fallen Police Officer Natalie Corona.

"The best was taken from us and that is something I will always remember because it is true," said Lt. Art Camacho with the Davis Police Department.

Corona and O'Sullivan's names would have been added alongside El Dorado County Deputy Brian Ishmael.

"This is a heavy year for law enforcement. I believe this year about 307 names will be entered in this memorial. It is a big deal," Lt. Camacho said. 

Next year, in 2021, with coronavirus deaths, many more names will be added. It's emotional for the officers who attend and for those who have lost someone close but it's their calling to put the badge on everyday, no matter what.

To watch the memorial live Wednesday May 13 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time, click here.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Madison Wade.

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