El Centro, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials from the Calexico ports of entry participated in the third annual Imperial Valley Law Enforcement Memorial (IVLEM) Ceremony that took place on Friday, April 29, 2011 on the steps of the Imperial County Courthouse.
Members of the community, local elected officials, law enforcement representatives, and family members of fallen officers were in attendance and paid tribute to 38 law enforcement officers from various federal, state, and local agencies that died in the line of duty in Imperial County, California since 1920. The program included remarks from guest speakers, a rider-less horse, roll-call of fallen officers, a rifle salute, a flag folding ceremony and a candlelight vigil.
The Calexico ports of entry Honor Guard, in conjunction with Border Patrol El Centro Sector and the El Centro Police Department, executed the twenty-one gun salute and the flag folding ceremony.
Area Port Director Billy Whitford conducted the roll-call of the fallen officers. With the reading of the names, departments, and end of watch dates, officers from the respective departments rang the bell to symbolize the ultimate sacrifice of the 38 fallen officers.
The ceremony was preceded by a law enforcement motorcade that traveled through the heart of the city. The motorcade consisted of local, county, state and federal agencies to include Office of Field Operations and Border Patrol vehicles.
“I am thankful that our employees dedicated their time and efforts in remembering those who lost their lives while serving and protecting the citizens of our community,” said Port Director Billy Whitford. “It was an honor for CBP to be part of this solemn ceremony which means so much to the family and friends of these fallen heroes.”
The IVLEM organizing committee included Supervisory CBP Officers Martin Cuesta and John Campos.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.