The Santa Monica Police Department joined a contingent of law enforcement agencies from Southern California Thursday, May 4th, to participate in the 16th Annual Peace Officers’ Memorial Caravan to Sacramento.

The contingent of Southern California law enforcement agencies joined with Central and Northern California agencies in a statewide tour en route to the state capital for a tribute to honor officers who died in the line of duty in 2005.

The ceremony also acknowledged and honored officers from past years.

The officers who lost their lives in 2005 were memorialized with the addition of their names to the Peace Officer Memorial monument in Sacramento.

The ceremony paid tribute to those who have given their lives to protect the citizens in the communities they served and acknowledged the courage and bravery of that service. Thousands of people have attended the memorial event in past years.

Event organizers said California led the nation with 22 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2005 — a “sobering fact” which makes this year’s memorial even more personal.

The number of officers killed and injured last year along with the number of officers and deputies slain so far this year is a constant reminder of the dangers officers face daily, event organizers said.

Santa Monica police said this year is “particularly difficult” because officers paid final tribute to Santa Monica police officer Rick Crocker, a U.S. Marine Corps major who was killed in May 2005 in a rocket-propelled grenade attack during his second tour of duty in Iraq.